Amid the second Covid wave sweeping across India, a slew of rare infections have started spreading in many states and Union Territories.
While health officials have been busy tackling black fungus and white fungus infections, the recent spread of Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) has raised concerns.
While most cases of MIS-C are not fatal, they are worrisome because they affect multiple organs in children including the heart, liver and kidneys.
MIS-C manifests weeks after a child has battled Covid-19 and it is an outcome of the body’s reaction against the antigens developed to fight Covid.
According to experts, apart from India, a high number of MIS-C cases were reported in other countries as well after the peak of the Covid wave.
"I won't say it's (MIS-C) dangerous or life threatening but, of course, sometimes it affects children badly. It can affect organs like heart, liver and kidney in children. It happens four weeks or six weeks after they had an infection," Dr Yogesh Kumar Gupta, pediatrician in Fortis Healthcare told PTI.
However, Gupta further said that MIS-C poses a greater threat than Covid-19 in children.
"Active COVID infection is not something we are worried about because most of them are mildly to moderately symptomatic but once they recover and once they have antibodies in them, then these antibodies are somehow reacting in children. It's like an allergy or reaction in their body," the child specialist explained.
According to Gupta, the MIS-C can affect organs like heart, liver and kidney in children as post COVID complication and not as an active COVID case.
The doctor said there were three cases last year and this time again there were two cases in the Fortis Healthcare when the second wave hit Karnataka.
He expressed his fear about getting more MIS-C cases once the peak is over.
According to Dr Giridhara R Babu, epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India and the State COVID Technical Advisory Committee member, the hospital-based prevalence is not the right parameter for population level parameter.
"But that does not take away the importance of studying this (MIS-C). Even if it is a small percentage, this needs thorough investigation. A clear understanding is needed ahead of the next wave," Babu told PTI.
"Preventing the infection among children is the most important aspect and next is to identify the symptoms as early as possible and refer to them for care by the specialists," Babu further pointed out.
Dr Gupta and Dr Babu were of the view that children must be protected from COVID infection now and the best way is to vaccinate the eligible people at the earliest as possible.
They also stressed upon developing a vaccine for children at the earliest for their safety.
According to official sources in the Karnataka COVID War Room, the state saw 20,206 COVID infections including 17 fatalities among children below 10 years of age from March 1 to May 15 this year when the second wave hit the state.
he case fatality rate, however, among children is only 0.1 per cent.
(With PTI inputs)