Abu Dhabi doctors treat girl struck by mysterious Covid condition

Savannah Glanville developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) weeks after a case of the coronavirus

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A mother in Abu Dhabi has thanked doctors for saving the life of her daughter, who became seriously ill with a mysterious inflammatory condition linked to Covid-19.

Liz Glanville said her daughter Savannah, 12, developed stomach cramps and vomiting on Thursday, which worsened over 24 hours.

She took her to the paediatric ER at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) in the capital, where doctors initially thought she had appendicitis.

Savannah is now being treated for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

She’s stable now. There has been a big improvement
Liz Glanville

The uncommon condition was first identified by doctors in the US and UK in April 2020, who noted cases of system-wide inflammation in children, many of whom had Covid-19 antibodies.

Initial symptoms include fever, rashes, conjunctivitis, diarrhea and vomiting, which often worsen over a few days.

The condition can occur with an active infection but typically develops two to six weeks after a Covid-19 infection.

It can even affect children who remain asymptomatic, as Savannah did when she caught Covid-19 in January.

Her blood pressure was found to be “through the floor” on admission to SKMC over the weekend, said Ms Glanville, 41, who is from England.

She was admitted to the ICU and doctors removed her appendix, which was found to be inflamed, but did not fully explain her symptoms, which included high inflammatory markers on blood tests.

“When they came back out they were concerned it was not very inflamed, the appendix. It was inflamed but not so bad,” Ms Glanville said.

“So that is when they said they are treating her for this MIS-C.”

She has received three types of antibiotics to treat any bacterial infection which could be present, as well as immunoglobulin to stabilise the immune system and steroids to dampen her body’s inflammatory response.

The iCademy Middle East pupil's symptoms have since significantly improved.

“She’s stable now. And even today (Monday) she’s eaten quite a big lunch. So there has been a big improvement,” Ms Glanville said.

She said doctors cannot diagnose MIS-C with certainty because it presents itself differently in children. They have sent Savannah's appendix for biopsy to confirm that MIS-C was the cause, not appendicitis.

Ms Glanville said the doctors think the successive illnesses of Covid then appendicitis may have played a part in how sick she became.

But they are treating her for MIS-C because they believe it to be the most likely cause of her symptoms.

“She had Covid in January. She was only positive for about three days. There were no symptoms at all,” Ms Glanville said.

It was a scary time for the family and Ms Glanville said she was grateful to the medical team at SKMC for their prompt response and treatment of Savannah.

“Everything happened very quickly. The hospital here are absolutely fantastic,” she said.

“From the moment we walked in the door, people came out of nowhere and she was being really well cared for.”

Covid-19 vaccine can prevent MIS-C

A study by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has shown vaccination can protect children against MIS-C.

Data collected from 24 children’s hospitals with 102 hopsitalised MIS-C patients showed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination was 91 per cent effective at protecting children aged 12 to 18 against the inflammatory condition.

The overwhelming majority of MIS-C cases, 95 per cent, occurred in children who were unvaccinated. None of the five fully vaccinated MISC patients required life support, compared to 39 per cent of unvaccinated MIS-C patients who did.

“The bottom line is MIS-C is a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Elizabeth Mack, division chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“You can’t have MIS-C without having had a Covid-19 infection," she said.

“Now, a lot of people don’t know that their child had Covid, because sometimes the Covid was a mild or asymptomatic infection, but you had to have the infection to build up the inflammatory response to it, so it’s not surprising that the vaccine would also prevent this post-infectious inflammatory process.”

The Pfizer vaccine is now available across the UAE for children age five and up.

Dubai rolls out Pfizer vaccine for 5-11-year-olds - in pictures

Updated: February 08, 2022, 9:18 AM