18:05 GMT17 June 2021
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    Although India is anticipating a third wave of COVID-19 in September, a rise in the number of cases of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome among children has left many paediatricians extremely worried. A number of top doctors have said that increasing the healthcare available across the country can only help to halt the syndrome.

    Despite a decline in COVID-19 cases in India, the post-COVID woes are wreaking havoc. There is a significant rise in the cases of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in children (MIS-C) - a condition where the patient develops fever and inflammation in several organs such as the heart, the lungs and the brain.

    Talking about MIS-C, Dr Dhiren Gupta - chairman-elect of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics Intensive Care Chapter and a paediatrician at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in India's capital city Delhi - told Sputnik: “Three to four weeks after COVID, a lot of children may develop a reaction which affects the heart and abdomen. It develops rapidly and it can be life-threatening also.”

    Though the total number of patients affected by MIS-C across India has yet to be ascertained, only a couple of days ago as many as 177 cases were reported in Delhi and adjoining areas. Other news reports said that there were more than 100 cases of MIS-C reported in the Indian state of Gujarat and more than 100 cases in several other parts of northern India.

    The data by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics Intensive Care Chapter suggests that more than 2,000 cases of MIS-C have been reported in the country since the first wave of COVID-19.

    Dr Gupta said that because paediatricians aren't in the habit of sharing information, collating data is not easy. But he estimated that in Delhi and the adjoining areas there might be between 200 and 250 cases of MIS-C.

    Although the exact cause for the rise in cases is unknown, doctors said one reason could be an extreme immune response after COVID-19 since the greatest incidence of MIS-C is among children who have recovered from the pandemic.

    Asked what precautions need to be taken, Dr. Arun Bansal, a Professor in Paediatric Care at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, told Sputnik that first the spread of COVID-19 needs to be contained since MIS-C occurs after the virus.

    “Last year, cases of MIS-C were reported at a slow pace but this time it has matched the pace of the COVID wave. So, we need to ramp up our existing healthcare infrastructure, including in rural and semi-urban areas,” he said.

    Both Dr Gupta and Dr Bansal emphasised that training healthcare workers and medics across the country was paramount so that the third wave of coronavirus and post-COVID-19 complications could be dealt with.

    They added that although the mortality rate of MIS-C is not very high, the effects might persist for some time. A recent study published by The Lancet journal in May 2021 has also suggested that MIS-C fades away after over six months.

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