WAUWATOSA, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) - Doctors have identified the first suspected cases, in Wisconsin, of a rare inflammatory syndrome that affects children.  Because it's so new health experts are still trying to understand the syndrome's connection to COVID-19.

Seven Wisconsin children have been diagnosed with Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome or MIS-C.  Children's Wisconsin told reporters in a virtual press conference Friday the first case in the state dates back to April, and most of the patients live in southeastern Wisconsin.

"There is so much to learn.  We're taking a conservative approach with the state and reporting all cases in order to gather as much information as possible,” said Dr. Michael Gutzeit, Children’s Chief Medical Officer.

Doctors at Children's are trying to better understand the syndrome's connection to COVID.  Right now, they don't believe it's contagious but rather a post-infectious complication of the virus.

Dr. Frank Zhu, Medical Director for Infection Control and Prevention at Children’s pointed out, "these patients often do not have positive tests in their nose for the actual virus but have positive antibody tests which suggests to us this is likely not infectious."

Dr. Zhu is part of the team of experts from different specialties assembled by Children’s to investigate, diagnose and treat these cases.  MIS-C can cause swelling in many areas of the body affecting a number of organs from the heart and lungs to skin, even eyes.

There are a number of symptoms doctors want parents to watch for: persistent high fever, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, and red eyes and tongue.   

Dr. Gutzeit also shared some encouraging news.  “While we understand this is a newly identified syndrome, and the symptoms can be severe, it's important to remember that the vast majority of kids recover with brief hospital stays and in some cases no hospitalization is required,” he said.

Two of the seven patients diagnosed in Wisconsin are still at Children’s, but doctors say they are doing well.  

There is no specific test for MIS-C, and it can be difficult to diagnose.  The syndrome is similar to another condition in children called Kawasaki Disease, which also causes inflammation in the body.  It mostly affects younger children, but in the case of MIS-C both children and teenagers have been diagnosed.

Doctors recommend parents call their pediatrician if their child has any of the mentioned symptoms or if they have any questions or concerns.