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MIS-C cases among children in Sweden surge to 100, raising alarm about ICU bed shortage

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:37, January 11, 2021

STOCKHOLM, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Around 100 children in Sweden have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) after contracting COVID-19, raising alarm about a shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, local media reported Saturday.

Of the around 100 cases, 30 were linked to the second wave of the pandemic, causing doctors to be increasingly concerned, the newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported.

While few children get seriously ill from COVID-19, the Astrid Lindgren's Children's Hospital in Stockholm is currently treating six children for MIS-C, and one child has been admitted to a hospital in the Gothenburg region with the same condition, where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

"They are severely ill and all are near the verge of needing ICU treatment," Stefan Berg, a pediatrician at Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska hospital said of the young patients.

"We are trying to treat some patients who ought to be in ICU at other departments as far as possible since we know there's a shortage in beds right now," Berg said.

Berg's colleague, Karin Palmblad in Stockholm, said that so far all children afflicted with MIS-C after contracting COVID-19 have recovered thanks to a swift and aggressive treatment and thanks to what Palmblad labeled a "unique national collaboration, where all rheumatologists and several other experts are in contact every two weeks."

However, at the group's latest meeting on Thursday, several doctors raised concerns about a potential shortage in ICU beds for children. Also, the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital has had to loan staff members to adult COVID-19 wards due to a shortage in personnel.

Berg said that MIS-C is a rare condition and that there is great expertise in Sweden regarding its treatment, but Palmblad also said that while no child has been denied hospital care up until now, she is worried it might happen in the future.

Children who get MIS-C have often experienced just mild COVID-19 symptoms but then develop the condition around three to six weeks after being infected with the novel coronavirus. Symptoms include high fever, diarrhea and/or vomiting, rashes, red eyes and headaches.

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