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Health officials say girl is being treated for pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome

PMG FILE PHOTO - Children in an elementary school classroom work on art projects in 2019. Oregon reported its first case of a child with pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome on May 13. The illness is characterized as a COVID-19 related respiratory condition with symptoms similar to Kawasaki Disease.UPDATED: May 15

A child in Oregon is the state's first case of a respiratory syndrome linked to COVID-19.

The Oregon Health Authority announced Wednesday, May 13 that a girl is being treated at Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland for pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.

The hospital later confirmed the girl, 14, was still receiving treatment as of Thursday.

OHA called her condition "a rare but emerging condition in children that is believed to be associated with COVID-19 infection."

Doctors in other pediatric cases of the respiratory illness say the symptoms are similar to Kawasaki disease, which causes fever, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, eye redness, swelling of the lymph glands and inflammation in the mouth, lips and throat. Kawasaki has been effectively treated with immune globulin.

COURTESY PHOTO: OPB - Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations, Public Health Division, Oregon Health Authority"We don't believe this syndrome is very common, but several cases have been reported elsewhere in association with COVID-19," said Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for infectious diseases and immunizations at the OHA Public Health Division. "This syndrome appears to be an uncommon but serious complication of COVID-19 in children."

Not much is known about pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, but physicians say it's rare. OHA noted symptoms include fever, inflammation and poor function in one or more organs.

While health care providers are still learning about the respiratory illness, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force, touched on the emerging pediatric illness during a briefing Tuesday, when warning that the U.S. should exercise caution when considering whether to reopen schools in the fall.

"I think we ought to be careful ... in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects," Fauci said of the coronavirus during an exchange with senators.

To date, at least 14 other states have reported cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome, NBC News reported Tuesday.

In response to Oregon's first case, OHA says it's working on a case definition for the syndrome and expects the CDC to release one soon as well.

"The agency also plans to require health care providers to report cases of the disorder so it can be tracked," the OHA noted.

OHA will also send a Health Alert Network advisory, alerting health care providers throughout the state to be on the lookout for the rare and emerging condition.

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