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B.C. reports eight suspected cases of rare COVID-19-linked syndrome in kids

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Aug 28, 2020 at 11:24 am PDT

FILE - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during a daily COVID-19 update on Aug. 24, 2020. (Courtesy Province of B.C./Flikr)

B.C. has started reporting multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children: B.C. top doctor

Mis-c is being associated in some parts of the world with COVID-19

68 new cases, COVID-19 outbreak at worksite in Elkford, in southeast B.C.

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C. has started reporting multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, which B.C.’s top doctor says has been associated in some parts of the world with COVID-19.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported the first eight cases of suspect mis-c on Thursday, as the definitions have changed across Canada.

The average age of those infected was four. All were hospitalized, while two were treated in intensive care. But all survived.

“Previously, what we were reporting was only confirmed cases, and confirmed cases means you have a laboratory test or you’ve been a contact of somebody with COVID-19. In our cases here in British Columbia, all eight cases are suspect because they did not test positive for COVID-19 virus. They didn’t have antibodies either. And they had no known exposures to COVID-19 cases,” Henry said.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. The cause is not known.

“And this is something that has arisen as being associated in some parts of the world with COVID-19, we’ve talked about this in the past and we made this a reportable condition so that we could monitor it here in British Columbia,” Henry added.

“As we know, mis-c is very similar to a rare childhood condition that’s known as Kawasaki disease and we have seen children with that condition here in British Columbia every year. And, fortunately, most patients with either condition recovered completely, and that is the case with the eight people here in British Columbia. They have all been reported by BC Children’s Hospital. Five are male and three are female. The median age was four years of age and all were hospitalized. Two children were admitted to intensive care, but all have fully recovered.”

Henry said mis-c can show as a constellation of symptoms in some children. She added the eight children in B.C. were admitted to hospital because of concerns around inflammation of the heart and the blood vessels, and shock.

“I don’t know if they were ventilated or not. But I do know that all have recovered.”

Henry added both mis-c and Kawasaki are serious illnesses, but health officials have been monitoring them since March — a reflection the health system in B.C. is working.

The Canadian Pediatric Society issued a Public Health Alert on May 12 to notify health practitioners of an acute inflammatory syndrome temporally linked to COVID-19 that has been reported in children and teenagers.

The province also released a map showing local health area information around COVID-19, while reporting a COVID-19 outbreak involving a worksite in Elkford, in southeast B.C., and 68 new cases of the virus overall.

The outbreak in Elkford, at a water treatment site, involves seven cases, of which six are in people from Alberta.

READ ALSO: Dozens more in self-isolation, 62 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

“I do know that there were seven who tested positive. It was after they had returned home,” Henry said. “There’s a rotation that happens every two weeks, as I understand it. I know there’s more information that will be coming out from Interior Health.”

Regarding the area map of cases, Henry said it shows that virtually every part of the province has been touched by COVID-19.

She also said about a third of recent cases are linked to parties or events, while another third are within families and community groups, with 20 per cent related to travel.

The province reported another death, involving a long-term care home in the Fraser Health Authority.

B.C. has now recorded 204 deaths related to COVID-19, and 5,372 cases overall. The recovery rate is 79 per cent.

Of 906 active cases, 22 people are in hospital, including seven in intensive care.