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Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in an Adolescent Nigerian Girl with COVID-19: A call for vigilance in Africa

This is a lay summary of the article published under the DOI: 10.31730/

Published onMay 02, 2023
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in an Adolescent Nigerian Girl with COVID-19: A call for vigilance in Africa

Scientists study first Nigerian child to develop this severe Covid-19 complication

In 2020, researchers looked into the case of the first child in Nigeria with severe Covid-19 disease to develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). This is a rare but serious complication of Covid-19 that affects many different parts of the body. 

Inflammation happens when inflammatory cells travel to a place of injury or infection in the body and helps to fight off infections or heal the body. 

Cases from Europe and North America had shown that many children with African origins developed MIS-C, but this was not seen in Africa at the time. When a Nigerian patient with Covid-19 had been diagnosed with MIS-C, researchers were keen to investigate.

The researchers looked at the records of the 12-year-old Nigerian patient who was diagnosed with MIS-C and Covid-19 to help them understand more about this disease and how to recognise the symptoms. 

They found that the patient was diagnosed with MIS-C because she had a fever lasting more than 3 days, had rashes or swelling of hands and feet, experienced diarrhoea or vomiting, had a positive Covid-19 test, and showed high levels of specific inflammation markers in her body. Markers are proteins in the blood that marks (shows or indicates) if a person has an infection or disease.

They also noted that she got better when healthcare workers gave her anti-inflammatory medicine.    

By looking into this first case of MIS-C in Africa, the researchers suspected that there were more cases but that they were not being diagnosed correctly. They suggested that doctors should have monitored African children with severe Covid-19 closely for the symptoms of MIS-C.

The authors of this paper were from Nigeria. 


Majority of reports of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 have come from Europe and North America, with a paucity of cases in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa. The paucity of reports in Africa is in contrast with the demographics of the series in New York, Paris and UK which reported that children of African ancestry accounted for 40%, 57% and 75%, respectively of all cases of MIS-C. With the global trend of higher prevalence of MIS-C in children of African ancestry, enhanced surveillance and awareness for this syndrome in children with COVID-19 in Africa is therefore important as the previous and current observations of Kawasaki Disease (KD) and MIS-C as a rarity in Africa may be due to under-reporting, a poor index of suspicion and missed diagnosis. A case report of a 12-year old Nigerian girl with MIS-C is presented in line with the WHO call for urgent reporting and global surveillance especially in areas were MIS-C is considered a rarity. This case report stimulates a call for vigilance and expanded effort at surveillance to promote early recognition and diagnosis of MIS-C in Africa; using current case definitions which promote the recognition of MIS-C in areas of resource limitation. The favourable outcome and experience from this case will create awareness, expand knowledge, and support clinicians on the African continent in their approach to other potential cases.


This summary is a free resource intended to make African research and research that affects Africa, more accessible to non-expert global audiences. It was compiled by ScienceLink's team of professional African science communicators as part of the Masakhane MT: Decolonise Science project. ScienceLink has taken every precaution possible during the writing, editing, and fact-checking process to ensure that this summary is easy to read and understand, while accurately reporting on the facts presented in the original research paper. Note, however, that this summary has not been fact-checked or approved by the authors of the original research paper, so this summary should be used as a secondary resource. Therefore, before using, citing or republishing this summary, please verify the information presented with the original authors of the research paper, or email [email protected] for more information.

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