Health officials in British Columbia have announced eight suspected cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, a rare condition that's been "temporally linked" to COVID-19.
The condition, known as MIS-C for short, is similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, and has been associated with the coronavirus in some jurisdictions.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said none of B.C.'s cases are considered to be confirmed, in part because none of the children tested positive for COVID-19.
"They did not have antibodies either, and they had no known exposures to COVID-19 cases," Henry said.
The cases were revealed as a result of updated reporting criteria in Canada. Previously, only cases involving children and adolescents who had COVID-19 or were in contact with a known case were reported, Henry said.
Symptoms of MIS-C can include prolonged fever, red eyes, skin rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and even cardiac issues.
"It tends to be a constellation of things, and for some children … it can also affect the blood vessels of the heart," Henry said.
Fortunately, the provincial health officer added, most children with either Kawasaki disease or MIS-C recover completely with treatment.
"That is the case with the eight people here in British Columbia," she said. "All were hospitalized, two children were admitted to intensive care, but all have recovered."
The cases were all reported by BC Children's Hospital. Officials said five patients were boys, three were girls and the median age of the group was four years old.
Henry said health officials have been monitoring for MIS-C across the province, and will continue to do so over the coming months as schools reopen.