Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the novel virus SARS-CoV-2. First identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019, the virus is now circulating world-wide, including in Kansas City. People with COVID-19 may have no, mild, or severe symptoms. Common symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Older adults, and those with underlying medical conditions, including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, seem to be at high risk for severe COVID-19. Children seem to present with milder disease, and severe illness is less common. Specific treatment for COVID-19 is generally only prescribed for children hospitalized with severe disease. Children with mild disease can be managed with fever reducers (e.g. acetaminophen or ibuprofen) and supportive care. On average, people develop symptoms 5 days after exposure.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a condition where different organ systems become inflamed. Most children with MIS-C have evidence of recent infection with SARS-CoV-2. Treatment for MIS-C is based on symptoms, and most children recover with medical care.
SARS-CoV-2 is mainly spread from person-to-person by being in close contact with an infected person. An infected person may or may not feel sick. Household secondary attack rates are between 10-20%. Community secondary attack rates vary. In many studies, the secondary attack rate is <5%; however, rates can exceed 50% in areas where social distancing is not maintained. The best way to prevent getting infected is to practice social distancing, washing hands, routinely cleaning high touch surfaces, and covering your mouth and nose when you cannot socially distance. By keeping ourselves healthy, we keep others healthy.
Although COVID-19 is circulating in our community, Children’s Mercy continues to see more children for other common pediatric conditions than for COVID-19. In some cases, children can have COVID-19 and another infection. Information is rapidly changing, and we would encourage providers to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions.