Covid-19 in children: PIM syndrome as a life-threatening secondary disease

Forum Health Covid-19 in children: PIM syndrome as a life-threatening secondary disease

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    Covid-19 in children: PIM syndrome as a life-threatening secondary disease

    If there is talk of severe courses and long-term consequences with regard to Corona, most people think hastily of older and previously ill patients. It is a widespread opinion that younger people would cope with an infection with the novel coronavirus much better. As more and more children and adolescents are becoming infected, the number of those who become seriously ill or suffer long-term damage despite their young age is also increasing. As doctors have now confirmed, an infection with SARS-CoV-2 can even trigger an extremely rare inflammatory syndrome in children.

    Exaggerated immune reaction to corona pathogens

    According to current information from the Hannover Medical School (MHH), corona infections in children are usually normal. Nevertheless, severe symptoms develop in individual young patients only a few weeks after the actual infection. This is the so-called “Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem” syndrome, or PIM syndrome for short. “The new disease is very rare, but dangerous,” says Prof. Dr. Beerbaum, specialist in pediatrics at the MHH. Strictly speaking, the PIM syndrome is not a consequence of the corona infection itself: a survived COVID illness is followed by an overreaction of the immune system, which causes inflammation in various organs. This can sometimes lead to a life-threatening situation for affected children and adolescents.

    Severe symptoms and long hospital stays

    Since infections with the coronavirus are not always noticeable in children, the PIM syndrome must never be ruled out prematurely. Parents and paediatricians should be alerted to possible combinations of the following symptoms:

    High fever Inflammation of the mucous membranes Gastrointestinal problems Cardiovascular problems Skin rashes

    The disease is so severe that in most cases hospitalization is necessary. Dr. Beerbaum is concerned: “In our clinic alone we have already had to treat five children in the intensive care unit.” Due to the novelty and rarity of the disease, special drugs are not yet available, which is why treatment has so far been based on immune system blockers like cortisone. According to experts, symptoms subside within two to three weeks after successful medication.

    Long COVID also affects children

    Since not much is known about the sequelae of PIM syndrome, sick patients have to undergo regular and intensive follow-up. In addition, it is becoming increasingly clear that even younger people sometimes have to struggle considerably with the consequences of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Just like adults, children can suffer from Long COVID syndrome, even after mild or symptom-free courses. The health problems range from concentration disorders to muscle and limb pain to exhaustion or shortness of breath. A high number of infections in the younger generation must therefore under no circumstances be played down any further.

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Forum Health Covid-19 in children: PIM syndrome as a life-threatening secondary disease