MIS-A, which is an abbreviation for "multi-system inflammatory syndrome in adults," is a variant of MIS-C, "multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children." The latter sickness began appearing in children this spring, but at the time, was not seen in adults. Now physicians are reporting seeing it in older patients as well.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the condition causes severe inflammation of the blood vessels, including the coronary arteries. In some cases, it presented weeks after the patient was first diagnosed with the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Some kids were so sickened by the illness that they required ventilators, and at least 20 children died from it.
In some adults, the first sign of the condition is a rash. Dr. Alisa Femia, the director of inpatient dermatology at NYU Langone Health in New York City, began to suspect a link between an adult patient's inflammation and the sometimes-fatal children's illness when she observed a rash. A 45-year-old male who had previously cared for his wife, who had COVID-19, presented with red, circular patches on the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet, as well as pink eyelids and chapped lips.
"Before I even saw the patient. I said, 'This hasn't been reported yet. This must be MIS-A,'" Femia told NBC News.
For now, only a handful of MIS-A cases have been reported. However, Dr. Sapna Bamrah Morris, clinical lead for the Health Care Systems and Worker Safety Task Force, noted that not all physicians are aware of the symptom's existence and may not notice it in their patients.
"[MIS-A's] true prevalence is unknown. We have to get physicians realizing that. It may be rare, but we don't know. It might be more common than we think," Morris said.
Another problem is that doctors may not make the connection between the sickened individual's symptoms, which are not necessarily respiratory in nature, and COVID-19.
"Just because someone doesn't present with respiratory symptoms as their primary manifestation does not mean that what they're experiencing isn't as a result of Covid-19," Morris said.
So far, at least ten adult patients have been hospitalized in Intensive Care Units due to the illness, and two have died.
There is no known treatment for the condition, although some doctors have attempted to treat it with steroids and interleukin-6 inhibitors, drugs that can affect the immune system. Dr. Jill Weatherhead, an assistant professor of infectious diseases and tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, noted that, until the medical community has more information about what causes MIS-C and MIS-A, treating it will be difficult.