Five more cases of a rare but potentially serious coronavirus-related inflammatory condition in children have been reported in Virginia, health officials there said.
Officials with the Virginia Department of Health said Monday that the five cases have all been reported in the Richmond area, noting that the increase in what is known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) “coincides with the surge in cases of COVID-19 in the metro area.”
“Other states have also reported increases in MIS-C concurrent with increases in COVID-19 cases,” they added.
“These cases serve as an important reminder that COVID-19 can affect people of all ages. Even as our vaccination campaign continues to reach more and more people, we cannot let our guard down and we must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of this infection,” Dr. Tom Franck, the director for the Chickahominy Health District, where at least one case of MIS-C has been identified, said in a statement.
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To date, Virginia has reported two dozen cases of MIS-C, which typically arises several weeks after a COVID-19 illness or contact with someone with COVID-19, and can lead to organ damage due to a hyperinflammatory response. MIS-C can cause inflammation in one or more organ systems, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, brain, and/or skin.
No deaths related to MIS-C have been reported in the state, per state data.
Treatments for MIS-C focus on easing the intense inflammatory response, often involving IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin treatment), or pools of antibodies with particularly potent anti-inflammatory characteristics, as well as steroids to calm the immune system. Children with persistent inflammatory issues, or those requiring intensive care, may require more targeted anti-inflammatories or immunomodulators.
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Experts have warned that significant community transmission of COVID-19 will likely increase the prevalence of MIS-C. Parents should monitor children for telling signs of MIS-C such as fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, inflammation of the skin, eyes, hands, or feet, skin rash, or lips or eyes that appear red. Some children have puffy hands or feet, while others present enlarged lymph nodes.
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As of Feb. 8, more than 2,000 MIS-C cases have been reported nationwide, disproportionately affecting minority populations. At least 30 children have died in the U.S. after developing the condition, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.