What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)?
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or "MIS-C", is a rare health condition that can occur in children and teens under 21 years of age who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Children with MIS-C get inflammation, or irritation, in different parts of the body ("organ systems") up to eight weeks after being infected with SARS-CoV-2. This inflammation can occur whether the child did or did not have symptoms of COVID-19. Organ systems that can be affected by MIS-C can include: the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and/or gastrointestinal organs. Because it is caused by SARS-CoV-2, MIS-C is a new condition that was first reported in April, 2020.
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of MIS-C include ongoing fever PLUS more than one of the following:
Emergency signs of MIS-C that require immediate medical care include:
Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
Inability to wake up or stay awake
Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds (depending on skin tone)
Contact your child's medical provider if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C. If your child needs emergency care, call 911. Most children who become ill with MIS-C will need to be treated in the hospital. If going to an emergency room call ahead to your local emergency facility and notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Not all children and teens will have all the same symptoms and sometimes these symptoms overlap with other common illnesses. Because of this, it's important to be aware of the signs of MIS-C (PDF).
Keeping Your Child & Family Safe
Because children and teens can get MIS-C during or after having COVID-19, the best way to protect them from MIS-C is to take everyday actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your home and community. These practices include:
Learn more about
protecting yourself and your family from COVID-19 (PDF).
MIS-C Data webpage to learn more about case numbers and demographic features of MIS-C in California. Data are updated on the second Monday of each month.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Adults (MIS-A)
Like children, adults (21 and older) who had COVID-19 can develop symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Adults (MIS-A) days to weeks after getting COVID-19. MIS-A impacts different parts of the body including the heart, gastrointestinal tract (stomach), skin, and/or brain. MIS-A is rare and can be confused for severe COVID-19, particularly in older patients with heart issues and other comorbidities. There are less reported cases of MIS-A compared to MIS-C, although MIS-A is likely underdiagnosed and underreported. There is also limited data on MIS-A though research is ongoing. Learn more at the CDC MIS-A webpage.