The first child in Virginia has died from the multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 in children, the state Department of Health reported Friday.
The child who died from the syndrome, also known as MIS-C, was a resident in the Prince William Health District and between 10 and 19 years old. No other information about the child was released out of respect and protection of privacy for the family, the health department said.
“We are devastated by this sad news, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of this child,” said Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver in a statement. “COVID-19 continues to cause illness, hospitalizations and deaths across Virginia and the U.S.”
MIS-C is a rare but serious condition that could cause a child’s heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs to become inflamed. The majority of children with the syndrome experience ongoing fever as well as stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, skin, rash, bloodshot eyes and dizziness.
The Department of Health says parents should visit the nearest hospital or emergency room if their child is experiencing any MIS-C warning signs, including trouble breathing, lasting pain in the chest, severe abdominal pain, confusion or unusual behavior, inability to wake or stay awake, and pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory about MIS-C in May 2020. As of Nov. 1, 5,526 cases of MIS-C and 48 deaths from the syndrome have been reported in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Virginia has reported 111 cases of MIS-C to date. The first reports of the syndrome came in late April 2020 from the United Kingdom. In the U.S., the first cases of MIS-C reported came from New York City in May 2020.
As families travel and gather for holidays, Dr. Oliver urged all Virginians “to take steps to protect themselves and their families.”
“Please get vaccinated if you are eligible,” he said. “Practice social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing face coverings, as appropriate. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available to anyone age 5 and older at multiple locations across the Commonwealth.”