COVID hits kids hard in Michigan and can grow to rare, more serious diseases

Posted at 7:17 AM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 07:17:42-04

Juliana Elhouri started out with a low-grade fever, then it grew to red lips, a rash and a urinary tract infection. Her parents and doctors didn’t know the 4-year-old had COVID. She had tested negative.

After a couple of visits, her pediatrician told John and Michelle Elhouri to take Juliana to the emergency department. That’s where she was diagnosed with multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, a rare disease that is caused by the body fighting off COVID-19.

“It’s still something we’re trying to digest," Michelle said. "We still haven’t really comprehended that yet because we all have antibodies and none of us had any symptoms.”

MIS-C attacks several organs. “We’re talking heart, kidneys, intestines, brains, skin, all of those different things. So we need to look at the child as a bigger picture,“ said Jaime Hope, MD an ER doctor at Beaumont.

Treatment for Juliana took place during six days in intensive care at Beaumont Royal Oak.

The Elkhouri family lives in Macomb County. They didn’t want to keep this to themselves. They want everyone to know how serious COVID is still, especially with high infection rates among kids.

“It was just things you never thought you’d be talking about,” said John Elkhouri with the family of four talking on Zoom. "We just want to get the word out there, and we appreciate you giving us this time."

Another message from Dr. Hope to people who have other non-COVID emergencies: Don’t put off coming in. “We implore you to continue to seek emergency care," Dr. Hope said via Zoom. "We have cleaning protocols in place. We are continuing to be diligent with our PPE."

And little Juliana, on Zoom with her mom and dad and her 2-year old sister Alexandrea, said in a bashful voice that she’s “good.” She will have to be tested until she’s 10 years old to see if she develops long-term complications.