The mother of a 14-year-old teenager who was hospitalized with syndrome from COVID-19 reminds people that it’s not just seniors who are at risk.
Viktor Rousseau was hospitalized at the CHUL for about a week. Tested positive for COVID-19 in December after an outbreak in his classroom, the healthy young man has not developed any symptoms of the virus. The impacts were rather felt in mid-January, in the form of multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
“It started to go bad in mid-January, headaches, stomach aches, fever. They thought it was appendicitis, but it wasn’t that. They sent him home, but he came back on January 20 because things were wrong there, ”says his mother, Christina da Costa.
“It hit us in the face”
Quickly, Viktor’s condition deteriorated. Nuchal stiffness, high fever, inflammation of the liver, spleen, lungs and heart, pressure problem, in short, a worrying picture.
“It hit us in the face because we never thought it would have been so intense in a youngster. He had been completely asymptomatic to the virus, we did not expect that, ”says Ms. da Costa.
The teenager from Quebec finally ended up in the intensive care unit because his condition was so serious. “His pressure was so low that his heart raced,” explains his mother, adding that a cocktail of corticosteroids and immunoglobulins, with the speed of action of the healthcare team, had saved her son.
“They told me several times that we could have lost him. It changed my perceptions 100% of the virus, ”says Christina da Costa, recalling that it is not only seniors in CHSLDs who are at risk. “People need to know it and realize it.”
Viktor left the hospital on Tuesday, but is still not completely out of the woods. “For the after-effects, it will depend on how his heart is going and how he regains his capacities”, drops his mother.
More frequent since COVID
Dr. Marie-Paule Morin, pediatric rheumatologist at CHU Ste-Justine, confirms that multisystem inflammatory syndrome has been more common in our hospitals since COVID-19. The spike in cases just before the holidays triggered a spike in diagnoses of the syndrome, which is still very rare.
“We have had about ten cases in Ste-Justine over the past few weeks, in the majority of cases, all of them young people who had not had any symptoms of COVID”, explains the doctor, specifying that the syndrome manifests itself on more often three to four weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
With the experience of the past few months, doctors now know better how to recognize the disease, which has similarities to Kawasaki syndrome, which improves its prognosis. If not treated in time, patients could keep heart attacks from severe inflammation, but in the vast majority of cases, young people are doing well, reassures Dr. Morin.
“It’s still important to talk about it because it exists. You have to be attentive to the symptoms, often parents have the flair for that. If the fever persists, for example, we must consult, we must remain vigilant, ”says the specialist.
What is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (SIME)?
- Would be a hyperreaction of the immune system triggering an inflammatory storm in the child
- Usually occurs 3-6 weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19
- The causal link with COVID-19 remains to be established, but the temporal link is certain. Each peak of the virus causes a peak of the syndrome
- Very low rate of COVID-19 cases turns to EMIS