advertisement

Infectious Diseases

Updated 09 October 2020

A mysterious post-Covid inflammatory response in kids can also affect adults

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there's a type of multisystem inflammatory syndrome that can also affect some adults.

  • While most people recover from Covid-19, it's the long-term side-effects that baffle experts
  • Some children develop a hyperinflammatory condition known as MIS-C
  • Now, the CDC reports that something similar has been spotted in some adults 

Although children tend to be more resilient to Covid-19, some children have developed a hyperinflammatory condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). This disease is dangerous and can even lead to death.

On 2 October 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report which suggests that a type of multisystem inflammatory syndrome can also affect some adults. This version is referred to as MIS-A.

According to the report, MIS-A is a severe illness that targets multiple organs and causes increased inflammation in the body.

As with children, the adults who presented with MIS-A either test positive for SARS-CoV-2, or they have antibodies, which means that they have been infected with the virus in the past.

New cases of syndrome in adults

The CDC received reports of at least 935 cases of children with MIS-C, including 19 fatalities – including teens and young adults.

Recently, a similar syndrome has been observed in adults, and the CDC refers to 27 cases from the United States and the United Kingdom.

Similar to children, the adults displayed symptoms of fever, gastrointestinal symptoms and a rash. Some patients had chest pain and heart palpitations. All of the patients showed high levels of inflammation markers.

Ten of the patients received treatment in the intensive care unit, and two patients died.

READ MORE | What you should know about a new childhood disease linked to Covid-19

According to the report authors, these findings strongly indicate that adults of all ages previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 may develop a syndrome resembling MIS-C, which can affect organs besides the lungs.

While the researchers need to investigate further to understand the exact causes of the condition, as well as the potential long-term effects, the presence of MIS-A and MIS-C in patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 strongly suggests that this syndrome may represent postinfectious processes.

Minority groups more likely to be affected

A concerning phenomenon in this report was that all but one of the adult patients belonged to a minority group such as Black or Hispanic.

"Long-standing health and social inequities have resulted in increased risk for infection and severe outcomes from Covid-19 in communities of colour," the authors wrote.

A similar pattern could be seen in the cases of children – more than 70% of the reported cases of MIS-C in children were either Hispanic or Black, the CDC reported.  

READ | Children can carry Covid-19 virus in their respiratory tract for weeks, study finds 

READ | Recovering from Covid-19: Are there any lasting effects? 

Image credit: Getty Images