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Updated: Mon 6:17 PM, May 18, 2020

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Officials at a Linn County hospital have confirmed that they are treating the children with a rare inflammatory response to the novel coronavirus.

The exterior of UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids (KCRG File)

A spokesperson for UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital said that they are treating two patients with pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or PMSI. The syndrome appears to be related to post-infection inflammation of the body’s blood vessels, including those in the heart, according to officials. It is similar in presentation to Kawasaki’s disease, another rare post-viral illness that affects children.

Officials were not able to provide any more information about the patients, citing privacy concerns.

Symptoms of the syndrome include a persistent high fever for more than three days, rash, and abdominal pain. It can sometimes lead to hospital admission to manage low blood pressure and related complications in severe cases, the spokesperson for UnityPoint Health said.

Most children do not experience the same serious respiratory issues that adult cases have seen, according to UnityPoint Health, but this new syndrome has shown up in some children post-infection.

Earlier on Monday, state epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati confirmed that there were now two reported cases of the illness. UnityPoint did not specifically confirm that these were the same patients, though Pedati said both cases were in eastern Iowa.

Pedati and UnityPoint Health both stressed that the best way to avoid the risk, albeit rare, to children from this syndrome is to take proper steps to avoid potential exposure to the virus, including proper social distancing, hand washing, and keeping them away from people who have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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