5-year-old Northwest Indiana girl describes battle with inflammatory disorder related to COVID-19


PORTAGE, Ind. — Thousands of children have been exposed in the Chicago area to COVID-19, but some have been affected by a serious inflammatory disorder that shows up several weeks later.

Janiya Johnson, 5, of Portage, started feeling sick on a Thursday back in early December.

“She still was saying ‘mommy my stomach hurt’ she still wasn’t eating and not herself,” said mother Oshunda Johnson. “Running a fever.”

Johnson took her to urgent case and then to her pediatrician. At first, they thought she had a stomach bug. But when her symptoms didn’t improve, Johnson took her daughter to St. Mary’s Hospital in Hobart.

“My belly was hurting so bad, I was scared what was happening,” said Janiya Johnson. “I didn’t know what was happening.”

Doctors transferred Johnson to Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn where it was determined Johnson had Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, of MIS-C.

“He said ‘her liver her kidneys are not functioning at the levels they should be and her blood pressure is low,'” said Oshunda Johnson.

Johnson’s mother said several family members tested positive for COVID-19 in October, but Janiya never had any symptoms. Doctors did find that she had antibodies from exposure to the virus.

There has been 2,060 cases of MIS-C and 30 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the CDC.

Doctors treated Janiya with anti-inflammatory steroids and she was discharged four days later.

“When the doctor told us one more day they don’t know if they would have been able to save her,” Johnson said. “That’s the scariest moment of anyone’s life to know your child is that sick.”

Stomach pain, vomiting, fever and rash are the most common symptoms.


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