DENVER – Two deaths in Colorado have been linked to multisystem inflammatory syndrome, the mystery syndrome popping up across the country – mostly among children – that is linked to the novel coronavirus.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed there have been two deaths in Colorado and seven cases in the state confirmed by U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The department said it could not release details about the cases, including the ages of the people who contracted the syndrome.
Colorado officials first warned about the syndrome, MIS-C, in May, when they said there were three suspected cases in the state and that Children’s Hospital Colorado was researching the disorder. The CDC says that all of the cases across the U.S. have involved people under the age of 20.
“To protect family privacy, we cannot share any other details at this time,” a CDPHE spokesperson said Thursday morning.
The Colorado Sun first reported the two deaths Thursday.
In May, Dr. Samuel Dominguez of Children’s Hospital said that initial information shows the syndrome generally affects children between the ages of 5 and 15, though there have been some cases of children up to age 20 having the syndrome.
He said that suggested the syndrome was a post-infectious or inflammatory response to the virus. Children typically have very high fevers for several days and typically experience body inflammation, particularly in the gastrointestinal system and sometimes in the coronary system.
Dr. Dominguez said that the syndrome can present similarly to Kawasaki syndrome, which similarly affects children through inflammation. But he said that early information is showing medical professionals some differences between the two.
Kawasaki syndrome typically affects toddlers and not older children and can include red eyes, lips and swelling of the hands and feet. State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said in May that parents should look out for any of those symptoms in their children and consult with their doctor as to whether their children should come in for treatment.
The CDC says that the average age of children in which MIS-C presents is 8 years old. It has also disproportionately affected Hispanic/Latino and Black Americans – with about 70% of cases reported by the CDC occurring in those two groups.
Ninety-six percent of cases occurred in people who tested positive for SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, while the other 4% occurred in people who had been exposed to others with COVID-19.
Most cases developed 2-4 weeks after a person was infected with SARS-CoV-2. Eighty-six percent of cases have occurred in children under age 15.
The CDC’s case definition for MIS-C involves a person aged under 21 showing lab evidence of inflammation, severe illness requiring hospitalization, with multisystem organ involvement and no plausible diagnoses, as well as a positive current or recent test for SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 or antibodies for the disease
Physicians are also advised to “consider MIS-C in any pediatric death with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Roup Hardowar will never forget the horrifying experience his son lived through.
"I was there shaking Jayden, Jayden, Jayden — come on, wake up come on, Jayden,” says Hardowar.
HIs 8-year-old son, Jayden, was lifeless on his bed of their New York City home. Hardowar felt helpless.
"I’m losing this kid right now,” Hardowar says he thought.
Jayden was rushed to the hospital. Doctors later diagnosed the 8-year-old with MIS-C after testing positive for COVID-19.
“It wasn’t something we thought would have come in our home”, said Hardowar.
Doctors were able to treat Jayden and he walked out of the hospital two weeks later.
Colorado has seen three deaths among children aged 10-19, zero deaths among children aged 0-9, and 11 deaths among the 20-29 age group as of Wednesday evening. Word of the two deaths comes as Colorado school districts consider the safest way to return students to classrooms in coming weeks.
Denver7's Ivan Rodriguez contributed to this report.