They call it adult multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-A, and say it’s similar to childhood multisystem inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C. Like MIS-C, MIS-A is not obviously linked to the coronavirus, and those affected may not show any other symptoms that would suggest Covid-19 infection.
But MIS-A has killed at least three patients and, similar to Covid-19, disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities, the CDC team said.
A black man living in Florida suffered from ringing in the ears, vomiting, and chest pain. He tested negative for Covid-19 when he was hospitalized but died despite treatment. He was 46 years old.
A 22-year-old black woman in New York was healthy until she developed a fever and chills, but she spent 19 days in the hospital before she was well enough to go home, the CDC team said.
MIS-C has affected hundreds of children around the world and if treated immediately, the children will recover. It causes general inflammation, but patients don’t usually show the classic symptoms of the coronavirus. Blood tests suggest that MIS-C may develop weeks after a child has recovered from coronavirus infection – usually a case that caused mild or no symptoms.
The CDC team described the cases of 27 adults aged 21 to 50 years with similar syndromes. Most had extreme inflammation throughout the body and organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys – but not the lungs – functioning properly. “Although hyperinflammation and extrapulmonary organ dysfunction have been described in hospitalized adults with severe Covid-19, these conditions are generally associated with respiratory failure,” they wrote in the CDC’s weekly report on death and illness, the MMWR.
In contrast, the patients described here had minimal respiratory symptoms, hypoxemia (low blood oxygen levels), or radiological abnormalities as per the work case definition that was intended to distinguish MIS-A from severe Covid-19; only eight of 16 patients had documented prior to onset MIS-A respiratory symptoms. “
A third of the 27 patients tested negative for active coronavirus infection but tested positive for antibodies, suggesting they have been infected in the past. “All but one of the patients with MIS-A described in this report were from racial or ethnic minorities,” the researchers wrote.
“Doctors and health departments should consider MIS-A in adults with compatible signs and symptoms,” the team advised. “These patients may not have positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR or antigen test results, and antibody tests may be needed to confirm previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Symptoms include a fever that lasts for 24 hours or more. Breast patient and irregular heartbeat; Signs of cardiac dysfunction; Gastrointestinal symptoms and rashes. X-rays can show pneumonia even if patients have no symptoms.
According to the CDC, 10 of the 27 patients needed an intensive care unit. three were intubated and three died. The first symptoms in two young adults were severe strokes.