New York City health officials have identified 30 additional kids with pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, a potentially fatal illness doctors suspect is being caused by Covid-19 infections.
There are now 82 confirmed cases of PMIS in the city, up from 52 the day before, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Wednesday. Doctors are increasingly recognizing the symptoms in more children after the illness came to light in the U.K. late last month. Of the New York City cases, 53 tested positive for the coronavirus or have the antibodies against the disease, suggesting they previously had the coronavirus and recovered, de Blasio said.
One death has been linked to PMIS, he said.
The city will begin a digital advertising campaign on Wednesday to warn residents about the disease, he said.The disease is causing heart and kidney failure in children with Covid-19 and is similar to a rare inflammatory syndrome in children called Kawasaki disease.
"Prolonged fever, a rash, having really red bright lips, swollen hands and feet, they could have abdominal pains, all of these symptoms, especially if they come together, are concerning indications that these children need to be evaluated for in-patient treatments," NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said Tuesday.
City health officials don't know what makes kids more susceptible to the disease, how long it takes to manifest or their likelihood of developing it, de Blasio said Wednesday. However, the disease is treatable if diagnosed early.
"That vigilance is crucial," de Blasio said. "Our health commissioner issued an alert to all health-care providers to immediately both look for these symptoms in children and act on them but also report any and all activity to the health department so we can understand better how to fight back this problem."
Parents who don't have access to a pediatrician cman call the city's 311 line and be connected to a medical professional to discuss their child's health, de Blasio said.
On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state health department is investigating more than 100 cases of PMIS across New York. He said three kids have died from the disease, ranging from ages 5 to 18.
The most common age group to be affected by PMIS in New York are children from 5 to 9 years old, followed by 10- to 14-year olds, Cuomo said.
New York City officials said the symptoms in children differ from the most common coronavirus symptoms in adults, which include a sore throat, fever, dry cough and trouble breathing. Cuomo said PMIS is likely to be in other states but is going undiagnosed.
"This is a truly disturbing situation and I know parents around the state and around the country are very concerned about this, and they should be," he said.