Newswise — ALBANY, N.Y. (June 29, 2020) – The New York State Department of Health today announced that the Department has led a study on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19, which was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Department collaborated with the University at Albany School of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to complete the study.
The study describes 99 cases of MIS-C and concludes the emergence of the condition in New York State followed widespread COVID-19 transmission and often is associated with cardiac dysfunction.
“This landmark study links COVID-19 and MIS-C and will help healthcare professionals throughout the country diagnose this condition in their patients,” said Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. “From the very beginning, New York State has led the nation on investigations into MIS-C, and I commend our team of public health scientists for their excellent work expanding our knowledge and understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
“This investigation into a new and serious condition among children with COVID-19 is a true model of state, federal, and academic collaboration in the midst of a public health emergency”, says Dr. Eli Rosenberg, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University at Albany School of Public Health. “Each team brought invaluable and complementary expertise to the table to rapidly produce findings that will benefit other communities confronting this disease.”
In the study, researchers describe 99 confirmed or suspected MIS-C cases and if any pre-existing conditions existed in patients, what specific symptoms they experienced, what treatments they received, and their health outcomes.
Of the 99 patients under age 21 years, studied, 36 had a pre-existing condition, the most common being obesity. The peak in the number of MIS-C cases followed the peak in the number of laboratory-confirmed pediatric COVID-19 cases by 31 days. Both conditions were relatively uncommon in children. Of the 99, there were two fatalities.
The study also compared racial and ethnic information of the 99 children. Among 78 patients with data on race, 37% were white, 40% Black, 5% Asian, and 18% other race; among 85 patients with data on ethnicity, 36% were Hispanic. Study authors suggest that the higher incidence of MIS-C among Black and Hispanic children may be a reflection of the well-documented elevated incidence of COVID-19 infection among Black and Hispanic communities.
MIS-C has been compared to Kawasaki disease, which can have similar symptoms. Researchers determined that Kawasaki-like symptoms were more common in younger children than in adolescents. They concluded that further research could explore whether a post-SARS-CoV-2 inflammatory syndrome exists among adults.
Students, faculty and staff at UAlbany’s School of Public Health provided technical assistance to the investigation by developing the study data systems, helping to lead the data analysis and shaping the resultant manuscript. UAlbany authors on the study include Elizabeth Rosenthal (senior staff assistant, Epidemiology & Biostatistics and DrPH student), Meredith Barranco (PhD student, Epidemiology & Biostatistics), Eli Rosenberg (associate professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics), Tomoko Udo (assistant professor, Health Policy, Management, and Behavior), Sarah Bitley (alum and senior staff assistant), Emily Bruce (alum and study team member) and David Holtgrave (dean).
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