A rare but dangerous coronavirus-linked inflammatory syndrome that primarily affects children and teens is behind the death of a 17-year-old from South Carolina, health officials in the Palmetto State announced on Friday.
The teen’s death from multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) marks the first such fatality in the state since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a news release from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) which noted that 42 cases of MIS-C have been reported in the state to date.
The 17-year-old was from the “Upstate region died from MIS-C on Jan. 27,” officials said. No other details were provided.
“With the number of cases of COVID-19 we’re seeing in our state, we must be prepared for the unfortunate possibility of more children being affected by MIS-C,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC interim public health director, in a statement. “We continue to remind South Carolinians that COVID-19 is spreading in our communities at a high rate and it is vital that we all take the steps we know to protect us all from this deadly disease: wear a mask, stay six feet away from others, wash your hands frequently, and avoid crowds. And when your time comes, get vaccinated.”
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“These simple actions are how we protect ourselves and others, including our children,” he added.
MIS-C is a condition that often causes different parts of the body to become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vast majority of children with MIS-C recover, though some may require hospitalization. Symptoms of the condition often include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and fatigue.
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Many children who develop MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been exposed to someone with COVID-19. However, the connection between the virus and MIS-C has not yet been identified.
Since May, more than 1,600 cases of MIS-C have been reported across the U.S., according to estimates from the CDC.