Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)

​What We Know about MIS-C

As seen in other pediatric healthcare centers across Europe and in the United States, infectious disease and cardiology experts at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta continue to evaluate a very small number of children who have exhibited inflammatory symptoms characterized as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

MIS-C is a condition in which the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or GI organs become inflamed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 “Experts are still learning about MIS-C and how it affects children,” says Andi Shane, MD, MPH, System Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at Children’s. “Clinicians across the country and around the world are gathering and communicating information as quickly as they can so that we can keep our patients and their families informed.

What causes MIS-C?

Experts are working to determine whether children with this syndrome may have also had a past COVID-19 infection or exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 infection.

Our physician specialists at Children’s want to emphasize that MIS-C appears to be a very rare condition among children.

What are symptoms of MIS-C?

Some children may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained or persistent fever
  • Abdominal pain, which may lead to vomiting or diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Red eyes
  • Swelling around the eyes, hands or feet

Most children with MIS-C appear to be ill and do not act like themselves, showing signs of being extra tired.

Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe abdominal pain

What should I do if I think my child has MIS-C?

Contact your child’s pediatrician or seek medical care if your child's pediatrician is not available. It is important for your child to see a doctor if you are worried about the way your child looks or is acting.

Is it safe to bring my child to the doctor or a hospital?

Yes. Pediatricians in the community and teams at Children's are committed to safely taking care of children and their families. We have put screening and cleaning procedures in place to help protect families who seek medical care.

How are we testing for MIS-C?

If a doctor determines your child may have MIS-C, they may conduct certain tests to look for inflammation and other signs of MIS-C. These may include:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • Echocardiogram (heart ultrasound)
  • Abdominal ultrasound

Children's continues to work with experts at the Georgia Department of Public Health (GPH), CDC and other healthcare centers to learn more about MIS-C and how it affects a child's health. Be sure to check back often as we update information about the syndrome.