SC teenager first in state to die from rare COVID-19-related condition

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina 17-year-old died this week from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19, health officials announced on Friday.

The teen’s death is the first related to MIS-C reported to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The teenager, who lived in the Upstate region, died from MIS-C on Jan. 27, health officials said. No other information about the case was released.

“It’s heartbreaking to have to report the death of such a young person,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell. “Our condolences go out to the family and to the many families that have suffered loss related to COVID-19.”

At least 42 cases of MIS-C have been reported among children in South Carolina, according to SCDHEC.

MIS-C is a rare health condition that occurs in some children and teenagers who have contracted COVID-19 or been in contact with someone infected with the virus.

When infected, children’s body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A surge in coronavirus cases across South Carolina has led to record numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Health leaders said that while experts haven’t fully identified the connection between the virus and MIS-C, a surge in COVID-19 cases could lead to more MIS-C cases.

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“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’s Interim Public Health Director. “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. These simple actions are how we protect ourselves and others, including our children.”

On July 12, 2020, South Carolina announced its first confirmed cases of MIS-C associated with COVID-19. Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, and feeling tired. The vast majority of children with MIS-C recover.

Important Information for Parents and Caregivers:

The SCDHEC recommends parents and caregivers learn and watch for the signs for MIS-C in their children. Emergency warning signs of MIS-C include trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure that does not go away, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, and severe stomach pain.

Most children with MIS-C have a fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees F or greater) that lasts several days, along with other symptoms.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Irritability or decreased activity
  • Abdominal pain without another explanation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis (red or pink eyes)
  • Poor feeding
  • Red, cracked lips or red, bumpy tongue that looks like a strawberry
  • Swollen hands and feet, which might also be red

For more information about MIS-C, click here.