4-year-old boy in ICU among 4 children diagnosed with inflammatory syndrome linked to Covid-19

The four-year-old-boy was admitted to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (above) on Nov 1, after testing positive for the virus on Sept 24. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A four-year-old boy whose breathing is being supported by mechanical ventilation in the children's intensive care unit is one of four children in Singapore who developed a rare form of inflammatory syndrome linked to Covid-19.

These four cases were among the 8,000 paediatric Covid-19 cases in Singapore since the start of the pandemic, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Saturday night (Nov 6).

Known as the multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C for short, it is a condition where different body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidney, brain and eyes, can become inflamed.

MOH said MIS-C has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease, which has been linked to various viral or bacterial infections and occurs in 150 to 200 children a year in Singapore.

Kawasaki disease is an illness that results in inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body and mostly affects children younger than five years old.

The symptoms for MIS-C include persistent fever above 38.5 deg C for three days or more, with difficulty breathing, headache, neck swelling, rash, swollen hands and feet or abdominal pain.

The boy in the children's intensive care unit was admitted to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) on Nov 1. He had previously tested positive for the coronavirus on Sept 24. He is being cared for by KKH paediatric teams.

Of the remaining three cases, one is a two-month-old girl who was previously admitted to hospital for Covid-19 on Oct 12 and discharged on Oct 19.

She was later admitted to hospital again on Nov 3 for the inflammatory syndrome. Her condition remains stable, with no oxygen support needed.

The other two cases are two boys, aged three and eight, who have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

The younger boy was admitted to the children's intensive care unit on Oct 16. He had repeatedly tested negative for Covid-19, but his serology test results indicated that he was likely infected by the coronavirus two to six weeks prior to contracting MIS-C. He was discharged on Oct 23.

The eight-year-old boy was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Sept 30 and was admitted to the children's intensive care unit on Oct 27. He was discharged on Nov 1.

MOH said an international review from 26 countries in May last year reported that 14 in 10,000 children with Covid-19 infection contracted MIS-C.

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Correction note: An earlier version of this story said MIS-C is short for the multi-system inflammatory syndrome-Covid. This has been corrected to the multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children.

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