COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported on Saturday that a child in South Carolina died over the weekend from complications after contracting COVID-19.
It was followed by an update on Sunday that two children under the age of 10 have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). It’s a rare condition that occurs in some children and teenagers who have contracted COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone with the virus.
DHEC officials said in those diagnosed with the syndrome, different body parts including things like the heart, lungs, kidneys, and skin are inflamed.
Dr. Robin LaCroix, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Prisma Health, shared information on MIS-C, as well as tips for parents, during a Zoom video call Monday. She said right now there’s a lot of unknowns about the syndrome due to its first cases being in the last six months, and doctors are still researching and evaluating why kids who have had COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone with the virus, sometimes develop MIS-C.
“There are always with all viruses, whether that be influenza, RSV, or other viruses that can take a severe course in children that were healthy to begin with,” Dr. LaCroix said.
The CDC’s latest data shows there have been 186 cases in 26 states. That data spanned from March 15 to May 20, but now South Carolina has joined that list with two children under 10 being diagnosed. One child is from the Midlands and the second from the Pee Dee area. DHEC said it will not share any more information about their cases “to protect the privacy of the children and their families.”
DHEC officials said symptoms include trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion. an inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, and severe abdominal pain. Dr. LaCroix said other symptoms parents should look out for that might point to the syndrome include fever, vomiting, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, and a red tongue.
“As parents, we need to help protect our children,” Dr. LaCroix said. “We know that transmission from adults to children is the more common way and parents being able to protect their children from acquiring COVID is the first line of defense, and those are simple measures like being sure that they are avoiding big crowds, social distancing, and being able to wear a mask.”
Dr. LaCroix stressed that most kids who develop the syndrome do recover.
“With this, we know that a number of the children very early that were described are doing very well and are having no clinical sequelling to having the multisystem involvement,” said Dr. LaCroix.
The CDC reports that only 2% of children have died, but most need to be hospitalized. The CDC reports that 80%of patients were hospitalized in an intensive care unit, with 20% needing to be ventilated. The average hospitalization was seven days.
“Any of those signs or symptoms that occur either in a child that has been exposed and not yet diagnosed or a child who has been diagnosed and subsequently has improved and then worsened or not improving, those families should seek medical attention for their children,” Dr. LaCroix said.
Dr. LaCroix added that kids develop the syndrome either when they have COVID-19 or in the four weeks afterward. She said the best way for parents to protect their kids is to protect kids against COVID-19 by doing things like washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask, and socially distance from others.
Dr. LaCroix also talked about whether parents should be worried sending their kids back to school, saying that a very small percentage of transmission of COVID-19 is from child to child. She said 90% of the time an adult is transmitting it to a child.