Children's Hospital Colorado

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Associated with COVID-19

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What is MIS-C?

In May 2020, many countries that had an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) began reporting an inflammatory syndrome in some children. This is now called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C for short.

MIS-C is a shock-like condition in which different body parts can become inflamed (swollen) including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal (digestive) organs. MIS-C shares some clinical symptoms seen in Kawasaki disease, an illness that is most common in young children.

The most prominent symptoms of this inflammatory syndrome associated with the coronavirus are prolonged high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Children may also develop a rash or red eyes.

What causes MIS-C?

We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that most children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19 in the previous 2 to 4 weeks.

Most experts think that MIS-C is caused by the immune system reacting to having had an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Pediatric infectious disease specialists and scientists are learning more about COVID-19 and MIS-C and how to treat them every day.

Kids and MIS-C

Signs and symptoms

Tests and diagnosis

Treating MIS-C

Additional resources

FAQs about MIS-C

This page was updated on Dec. 21, 2020. Due to the shifting nature of the pandemic, recommendations can change quickly. Please follow all health and safety guidelines set by your local public health authorities. Reference the CDC, CDPHE and WHO for ongoing updates on COVID-19 and the pandemic.