THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The second wave of COVID has started showing signs of waning. But its impact on children is likely to increase in June and July in the form of multisystem inflammatory disorder in children (MIS-C), a severe inflammatory disease that requires expert treatment. It typically appears two to six weeks after the coronavirus infection as an overreaction.
The increase in the number of children contracting COVID in April and May has made doctors to expect an increase in MIS-C cases in the coming weeks. More children could be affected because COVID infection among them often goes undetected because of their asymptomatic nature.
The Union Health Ministry has also asked the state to look out for MIS-C. "A lot of children were infected in the second wave compared to the previous wave. So, an increase in MIS-C cases is likely in two months," said Dr Balachandar D, former state secretary of Indian Academy of Paediatrics. In children, MIS-C is considered much more serious than the Covid infection itself.
Though the condition is serious, doctors say the survival chances are good for MIS-C patients. Over 300 cases, including a death, had been reported in various hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram till a month ago.
"MIS-C is the problem as far as COVID infection among children is concerned. The proportion of children affected by it rises when the absolute number of cases increases," said Dr A Santhosh Kumar, former deputy superintendent of Sree Avittam Thirunal (SAT) Hospital and a member of the Lancet- COVID India Children's project, which aims to develop the protocol when kids are affected. MIS-C results in widespread inflammation in organs and tissues such as the heart, kidneys, brain, digestive system, blood vessels, lungs, skin and eyes.
According to Dr Balachandar, diarrhoea is the most common symptom he has found in MISC- affected children. "Unlike other causes of diarrhoea, the gastrointestinal manifestation due to MIS-C results in faster dehydration. Not all MIS-C cases are serious to begin with, but the health condition of a majority can deteriorate quickly," he said.
Often, parents bring their child to a hospital with gastrointestinal problems such as stomach ache, loose motion and high fever.
The other issues include cardiac problems and seizures. Doctors have been given guidelines to rule out other possibilities for the symptoms before confirming an MIS-C case. An antibody test will be conducted to determine whether the child has COVID.
If the antibody test facility is unavailable, an RT-PCR or antigen test will be done. The recent history of contact with Covid-infected patients will be probed to determine the chances of Covid infection.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All people in the 40-44 age group will be given COVID-19 vaccines. They can register on Cowin portal www. cowin.gov.in and take online appointment. Spot registration will not be allowed for this age group, Health Minister Veena George has informed.
Earlier, people in this age group were given vaccines only if they fall in the priority category. Those who attain the age of 40 on January 1, 2022, and those aged above will be eligible. Priority vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group will continue as usual.
There is no change in the vaccination guidelines for those above 45 years of age.