Rare COVID-19 related illness rising in Louisiana, 4 children dead

Updated: Aug. 10, 2020 at 10:13 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Children or young people who get COVID-19 in most cases don’t have severe symptoms or are asymptomatic. But in rare cases, there’s a COVID-related condition that could cause serious complications, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C.

"Two of the four deaths that we've had from the syndrome in Louisiana were preciously health kids, who did not have underlying health conditions," said Dr. Joseph Kanter of the Louisiana Department of Health and Office of Public Health.

Kanter says the syndrome has been found to impact coronavirus patients who are younger than 21-years-old. He says the person develops MIS-C signs weeks after getting the COVID-19.

“They got exposed to COVID19, some of them got sick,” Kanter said. “Recovered from that and then a lot of them showed MIS-C signs a few weeks later. Which is interesting and we don’t have a good explanation to it.”

Health professionals admit there are many unknowns with the syndrome, “it can cause very serious illness,” Kanter said. “It can put kids in the ICU and it can cause death, like we’ve seen in Louisiana.”

Organs can become inflamed. Kanter says in older teenagers it can cause heart failure.

“This is not something subtle so the same things that would make a child of any age look sick,” said Dr. Leron Finger, Chief Quality Officer for Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “These are not sort of healthy children that get diagnosed with MIS-C they look ill and they look ill enough that you would want to take them to the hospital for evaluation that’s how sick they look.”

Health professionals stress most children recover and they don’t believe the syndrome itself is contagious.

Kanter says the best way to stay ahead of it is by following all COVID-19 guidelines.

“For anyone that doubts the severity of this, we have every reason to be precarious and take as many vigilant actions as possible,” said Kanter. “Playing it safe is really the best thing to do for anyone’s family.”

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