The family of a five-year-old girl from Indiana is speaking out after a rare coronavirus-related inflammatory illness nearly claimed the child’s life.
Janiya Johnson’s health was rapidly declining over a five-day period; she was feverish, vomiting, fatigued, had stomach pain and would not eat, Advocate Children’s Hospital told Fox News.
“She’s full of energy. She’s just ready to go,” said Johnathan Johnson, the child’s father, per ABC 7. “And it was just different when she wanted to lay down and go to sleep.”
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Multiple visits to the doctors and urgent care still left the family without answers. However, blood work then revealed the child’s kidneys and liver were failing and she was rushed to Advocate Children’s in Oak Lawn, a Chicago-area hospital. There, doctors diagnosed her with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C. Much is unknown about this illness, but it usually develops several weeks after coronavirus infection. MIS-C involves shock, heart malfunction, stomach pain and hyperinflammation. Children diagnosed with this condition often require critical care.
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The child tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, though her family didn’t realize she was ever infected, per ABC 7. Janiya endured four days of intensive care at Advocate Children’s, after which she made a “full recovery,” the hospital said. Janiya’s parents, Oshunda and Johnathan Johnson are sharing the story so parents can find answers and reach diagnoses faster.
“We were told by one of the doctors that if we would have waited one more day, they probably wouldn’t have been able to save her,” Oshunda Johnson, the child’s mother, told Fox News. “Her liver and kidneys were that bad. She was in really bad shape.”
Oshunda says her daughter is now “perfectly fine, 200% better.”
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Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer at Advocate Children’s Hospital, says MIS-C diagnosis is difficult because it shares symptoms with less serious conditions. He says it mostly affects children under 14, and minority populations account for about 70% of cases.
Belmonte said many kids diagnosed with MIS-C need steroids or other anti-inflammatories to reduce the harmful inflammation, ABC 7 reported.
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More than 2.9 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, with 2,060 cases of MIS-C, per data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“To date, the majority of MIS-C patients have been Hispanic/Latino and Non-Hispanic Black,” the CDC said, noting more research is needed to determine risk factors. Of the reported MIS-C cases across the country, 37% are among Hispanic patients, while 32% and 22% are among Black and white populations, respectively.