First cases of serious child inflammatory illness linked to virus reported in SC

SOUTH CAROLINA — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reporting the state’s first cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children associated with COVID-19.

Health officials on Sunday said two children in South Carolina have been diagnosed with the rare condition, which happens when teens or children either contract COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who is infected with the virus.

One child is from the Midlands region while the other is from the PeeDee region. Both children are under the age of 10.

Pediatricians said there are greater risks for children everywhere.

“I’ve seen more children affected by gunshot wounds and violence since March 2020 than I have severe COVID in children,” said Dr. Elizabeth H Mack, M.D., director of MUSC Division of Pediatric Critical Care.

Mack, who cares for critically sick children in Charleston at MUSC, said MIS-C shows up weeks after a child contracts COVID-19.

“This is not something that we tend to see in the throws of COVID-19, but rather later on as sort of a wacky immune response that the body develops in response to this particular virus,” Mack said.

Mack said she is still deeply worried about children for other reasons during this pandemic.

With so many kids out of school, she said some are not getting fed or teachers aren't around to pick up on things like developmental delays or abuse in the home.

“When you take that out of the equation for children and families, the results as we have seen since March are devastating,” Mack said.

She said parents could set a good example by staying healthy.

“We do have control,” Mack said. “We can modify sort of the trajectory of our wellness.”

“We continue to see more and more young people, especially those under 20, contracting and spreading COVID-19, and we know MIS-C is a threat to our youngest South Carolinians,” Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist said. “MIS-C is a serious health complication linked to COVID-19 and is all the more reason why we must stop the spread of this virus. Anyone and everyone is susceptible to COVID-19 as well as additional health risks associated with it, which is why all of us must stop the virus by wearing a mask and stay six feet away from others. These simple actions are how we protect ourselves and others, including our children.”

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Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and feeling tired.

Health officials said emergency warning signs of MIS-C include trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure that doesn’t go away, confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, bluish lips or face and severe stomach pain.

This comes as the state reports 1,952 new confirmed cases and 10 new deaths Sunday.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in South Carolina to 56,485 and deaths to 950.

Saturday, the state reported record-high case numbers with 2,239 COVID-19 cases -- the highest increase since the pandemic began. Health officials said the percent positive was also the highest to date at 22.2 percent.

South Carolina also reported the state’s first coronavirus death in a child under five Saturday.