Ever since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in December 2019, it has been clear to researchers and health experts that the virus impacts different people to varying degrees. While some who are infected with coronavirus never exhibit symptoms, others experience a total ravaging of their organs and over 1 million people across the world have lost their lives.
One of the scariest and most complex coronavirus-related complications was identified in the spring — a multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) — "a rare but severe complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection," only impacting children and adolescents, per the CDC. However, according to a new CDC report, since June a handful of adults have also reported the condition. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
MIS-A Can Be Deadly
"Since June 2020, several case reports and series have been published reporting a similar multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults (MIS-A)," the CDC writes in their new weekly report on death and disease, the MMWR, published Friday.
Similar to MIS-C, MIS-A is not obviously linked to coronavirus — meaning those who are suffering from it may not display and COVID-19 symptoms. "Cases reported to CDC and published case reports and series identify MIS-A in adults, who usually require intensive care and can have fatal outcomes," they write.
The report focuses on 27 adults between the ages of 21 to 50, 10 of which required intensive care, three of whom were intubated, and three who died.
Related: Number of children with MIS continues to rise
Symptoms Are Severe, But Don't Involve the Lungs
The report focuses on 27 adults between the ages of 21 to 50 experiencing similar symptoms that included extreme inflammation and malfunction of organs, including "cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, dermatologic, and neurologic symptoms" but without severe respiratory illness.
"Although hyperinflammation and extrapulmonary organ dysfunction have been described in hospitalized adults with severe Covid-19, these conditions are generally accompanied by respiratory failure," they wrote.
"In contrast, the patients described here had minimal respiratory symptoms, hypoxemia (low blood oxygen), or radiographic abnormalities in accordance with the working case definition, which was meant to distinguish MIS-A from severe Covid-19; only eight of 16 patients had any documented respiratory symptoms before onset of MIS-A."
Per the CDC, symptoms can include a prolonged fever of more than 24 hours, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, heart dysfunction, gastrointestinal symptoms, and rashes. They also point out that despite no obvious respiratory symptoms, X-rays may reveal lung inflammation. Additionally, in two of the younger patients, the first symptom presented was a major stroke.
Antibody testing identified SARS-CoV-2 infection in approximately one-third of 27 cases, signifying a past infection.
Racial and Minority Groups Were Primarily Impacted
Researchers found out that the condition does discriminate. "All but one of the patients with MIS-A described in this report belonged to racial or ethnic minority groups," the CDC points out in the report.
The Good News Is, Many Recover
The CDC reminds us that the majority of those identified with MIS-A did make a recovery. However, identifying it and prompt treatment is crucial. "Because of the potential therapies that might benefit these patients as described in these case reports, clinicians should consider MIS-A within a broader differential diagnosis when caring for adult patients with clinical and laboratory findings consistent with the working MIS-A case definition," they write.
"Clinicians and health departments should consider MIS-A in adults with compatible signs and symptoms. These patients might not have positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR or antigen test results, and antibody testing might be needed to confirm previous SARS-CoV-2 infection." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.