10-year-old North Vancouver girl diagnosed with rare post COVID-19 syndrome

VANCOUVER — Jillian Rondeau is one of only four kids in B.C. with a confirmed case of multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C, a rare post COVID-19 complication.

But when she originally contracted the virus after a school exposure in early November, the 10-year-old had few symptoms and seemed to recover quickly.

“We thought we were on the path to recovery and leaving it in the past,” said her father Jean-Marc Rondeau. But on December 10th, Jillian developed a high fever, began vomiting and losing consciousness. She was tentatively diagnosed with MIS-C at Lions Gate Hospital.

Symptoms start about a month after a COVID-19 diagnosis in children, and include fever, rashes, and gastrointestinal issues.

“It can affect other organ systems including the heart, and those are the most serious cases,” said B.C. Children’s Hospital pediatric cardiologist Dr. Kevin Harris. “Some children they may require hospitalization, they get over it relatively quickly and in others in can be a very serious infection with children sometimes needing to go to the intensive care unit.”

After her initial diagnosis, Jillian Rondeau was transferred to B.C. Children’s Hospital for treatment.

“It was extremely frightening, especially on that Saturday when we could see the machines just beeping, going off with her blood pressure being so low and her heart rate so high,” said Rondeau.

Jillian’s mother remained at her side while she remained hospitalized for 10 days, before being discharged on Monday,

“If she had had any fever or symptoms come up over the weekend, we would have definitely been staying in hospital for the holidays,” said Rondeau.

The family is speaking out as a reminder of how serious a COVID infection can be even in children, and so parents who’ve had a child who tested positive weeks ago remain on alert.

Dr. Harris says “if they have things like a prolonged fever and other things then they should see their physician, and it’s up to the doctors to be aware of this and make the diagnosis.”

While Jillian is now at home, her parents have been told to remain watchful and they have to bring her back to Children’s Hospital if her fever returns. They’re grateful for the doctors and nurses who helped their daughter battle the rare illness.

“Her siblings call her the Hulk,” said Rondeau. “That goes back a few years, and we can kind of see why. She is definitely a strong kid.”

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