Rare COVID-related illness diagnosed in B.C. child
VANCOUVER -- Another child has been diagnosed with a MIS-C in British Columbia, just the 11th youngster to contract the rare COVID-related illness in the province.
Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome, which affects children almost exclusively, can cause rashes, inflammation, stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea, pink eye and swelling in lips, hands or feet.
This latest case was identified in the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s weekly situation report covering the week of April 18 to 24.
"There was one new confirmed case of Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in children and adolescents (MIS-C) since last report, for a total of 11 cases,” reads the document on the agency’s website.
The age of the child is anywhere from one to 15 years. CTV News asked the Ministry of Health for details, including whether the child is still hospitalized and what their condition is, but was told officials wouldn’t release any more information due to privacy concerns.
In total, seven more children 19-years-old or younger were admitted to hospital that week.
“Children whose care necessitates transfer to BC Children’s Hospital are admitted here, but COVID-19 positive children can also be admitted to other hospitals,” a spokesperson recently wrote to CTV News, pointing out their hospital admissions have remained consistent despite a surge in adult patients during the third wave.
While there were cases of the mysterious illness linked to COVID-19 internationally since the pandemic began last spring, MIS-C was first diagnosed in B.C. in October. A serology test had confirmed a child under five years old had been infected by COVID-19, but fully recovered.
The CDC’s definition of MIS-C infection includes evidence of COVID infection or close contact with a confirmed or epi-probable case of the virus.
BC Children’s Hospital posted a special article to address parents’ concerns in January.
“It’s not something parents need to worry they’re going to miss it,” said pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Kevin Harris in the piece. “It’s a case where the child would appear very sick and parents would be bringing their child in to the doctor for evaluation. It’s up to us, as medical teams to make sure it’s on our radar as something we need to evaluate for and treat.”
More details from the CDC report
The weekly situation reports are published every Wednesday and provide some detail into the COVID-19 picture in the province two weeks earlier.
It details a 50 per cent increase in the likelihood preschoolers who were tested for COVID-19 would return a positive result.
“The percent positivity for MSP-only specimens in week 16 was higher in all age groups (except 80+ year-olds) compared to prior weeks of Phase 3c, most prominently in the 0-4-year-olds (from 6.2% to 9.3%), 20- 39-year-olds (from 9.2% to 11.9%), 40-59-year-olds (from 8.8% to 11.3%),” it reads.
School-aged children five to nine years old were just as likely to test positive (7 per cent positivity), while the positivity rate for teens was about 12 per cent.
Most encouragingly, those 80 and older and most likely to have a first or even second vaccination, went from 5.9 per cent to five per cent positivity.
Overall testing was down significantly compared to two weeks earlier: 66,500 specimens were tested the week of Apr 4 compared to just 57,000 the week of Apr 18.
Per capita, B.C. remains well behind the Canadian average for COVID tests performed to date and is routinely behind other less populous provinces in raw tests performed but the province’s top doctor does not support widespread asymptomatic testing and has repeatedly defended the province’s testing strategy.