Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C)

Also known as: MIS-C

What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C)

MIS-C is a serious health condition found in children that appears to be associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus). While rare, the condition can cause children to become very ill for no apparent reason, causing dangerous swelling (inflammation) in the body that can lead to problems with the heart or other organs. Most children recover successfully with treatment that may require hospitalization.

What are the symptoms of MIS-C?

  • Fever that lasts for several days
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Swelling of hands and feet

What causes MIS-C?

While the exact cause of MIS-C is not yet known, it is not a contagious disorder. MIS-C appears to be related to exposure to COVID-19, during the current pandemic. Therefore, it’s important that families take every precaution to protect themselves from COVID-19 exposure. Those most at risk of MIS-C are children and young adults ages 2 to 21.

How is MIS-C diagnosed?

MIS-C is similar to other serious conditions, such as Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Your child’s healthcare provider will run lab tests to see how the body is functioning and to exclude other possible health problems. These tests will also help determine treatment.

How is MIS-C treated?

Doctors around the world and at Nicklaus Children’s are having good success treating MIS-C using medications that help reduce swelling, fight infection, and protect vital organs. A hospital stay may be needed to manage the condition:

Medications include:

  • Intravenous gamma globulin to help the immune system fight infection 
  • Prescribed medications to lower fever, reduce pain and swelling, and prevent blood clots
  • Corticosteroids to lower inflammation

Nicklaus Children's Hospital has also developed a highly specialized four-bed unit-within-a-unit for treatment of children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).

Features of the MIS-C pod include special barriers to prevent cross-contamination within the intensive care unit. Of note, while children with MIS-C are not contagious in most cases, MIS-C is associated with exposure to COVID-19, thus special environmental precautions are an essential part of the care space. The pod also includes a decontamination area for those entering and exiting the unit and a specialized bed to help staff with the regular turning of intubated adolescent patients


Reviewed by: Otto M Ramos, MD

This page was last updated on: September 09, 2020 11:29 AM

Infectious Diseases

The Division of Infectious Diseases at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to identify acute or chronic viral and bacterial diseases, so that we can treat it effectively as quickly as possible.

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