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Racial Disparity Seen in COVID-19 Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome

MONDAY, Nov. 30, 2020 -- Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) occurs more often among Black and Hispanic children than White children, according to a research letter published online Nov. 30 in JAMA Network Open.

Ellen H. Lee, M.D., from the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and colleagues used mandatory DOHMH reporting data to identify individuals younger than 21 years hospitalized in NYC (March 1 to June 30, 2020) with findings suggestive of MIS-C.

The researchers report that 223 patients met the MIS-C criteria (median age, 7 years; 57.0 percent male). Just under one-quarter of patients (22.4 percent) reported one or more underlying conditions, including most commonly asthma (13.9 percent) and obesity (9.0 percent). More than three-quarters of patients (78.5 percent) had detectable severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 RNA and/or antibodies. The overall MIS-C incidence was 11.4 cases per 100,000 population aged younger than 20 years. While Black children make up 22.2 percent of the NYC population and 19.9 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations among younger patients, they accounted for 34.4 percent of patients with MIS-C. Compared with White children, there was a higher incidence of MIS-C among Black (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 3.2) and Hispanic (IRR, 1.7) children. COVID-19 hospitalizations were also higher for Black (IRR, 1.7) and Hispanic (IRR, 2.1) children versus White children.

"It is unclear whether this finding represents a phenomenon distinct from the increased burden of COVID-19 in Black and Hispanic communities," the authors write.

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Posted: November 2020

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