As students and parents prepare for the resumption of school next week, pediatrician Dr. Melissa Lem is calmly warning about the potential signs of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, also known as MIS-C.
Last week, the B.C. government announced eight suspected cases of MIS-C, a rare condition similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, which has been associated with the coronavirus in some jurisdictions.
According to Dr. Lem, to be diagnosed with MIS-C, you must be 19 years old or younger, have a fever for three or more days and have at least two other inflammatory symptoms, such as skin rashes or pink eye, low blood pressure, shock, heart inflammation or problems with blood clotting.
"I know it sounds pretty scary, but thankfully it’s a very rare condition and the majority of children completely recover," Dr. Lem told CTV Morning Live on Monday.
Dr. Lem says we're now finding out about the eight suspected cases we've seen in B.C. since March due to a technicality in reporting.
"Criteria in Canada changed recently so that both suspected and confirmed cases would be reported," she said.
"So to be clear, there are no actual cases of MIS-C in B.C. yet because none of the eight children had any proof of COVID-19 infection or contact."
To officially confirm a suspected MIS-C case, Lem says a lab must test to prove infection or exposure with a close contact known to have COVID-19.
"So symptoms usually appear a few weeks after infection with COVIDbecause they're triggered by an ongoing immune response to the virus that causes the inflammation. And in fact, sometimes the very first sign of COVID-19 that parents will see is MIS-C without the classic respiratory and flu-like symptoms first," said the pediatrician.
Lem says parents should be keeping an eye out for symptoms, but MIS-C is still very rare and has a high recovery rate.
She has yet to see a case in B.C. personally.
"Typically these children are quite sick when they present so again it's quite very rare so it’s not something we're concerned about, but something we should keep an eye out for.
She suggests that even if masks aren't mandatory in all school settings, she would encourage all school age children that can, to wear a mask and stay home if they're not feeling well.