Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome or PIMS is a very rare syndrome similar to Kawaski Disease and Toxic Shock syndrome, which most of you have never heard about. While extremely rare, about 100 children have been affected. The syndrome is thought to be a post-viral process, most likely related to COVID 19. The majority of patients with PIMS are are not positive for the infection, but antibody tests show they had the infection or were exposed to someone with the infection and developed an antibody response.
Children with PIMS look sick. There is usually a history of fever greater than 101, and symptoms that include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, rash, red eyes, swollen hands or red cracked lips. Younger children may not want to drink. Few patients actually have the respiratory symptoms we see in adults.
The concern is the syndrome may affect heart function requiring hospitalization and ICU care. The majority of children do well with this syndrome but they need special attention and supportive care. PIMS is new and we are learning more about it. Physicians at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong (where there may have been up to 5 cases) are working with the state Dept of Health, the CDC and physicians and scientists across the country and globe to learn more about it and how to best treat it.
Until then, I want to reassure parents that most children are not affected by the coronavirus, and reports of children who become seriously ill remain rare and unusual cases. Many children have red eyes, or rash or diarrhea without fever or looking ill. These children do not have PIMS. What should parents do? If you are concerned, contact the office. We can set up a telehealth visit to evaluate your child and answer all your questions.