10 children die from mystery illness after infection, exposure to COVID-19


AUSTIN (KXAN/NBC News) — It happened so fast.

Ten-year-old William woke up with a stiff neck and an upset stomach in June. Soon, his arms and legs began to swell.

With his temperature soaring to 104, he was rushed to a Pittsburgh ICU, struggling to breathe.

“It looked grim when he was in ICU and I guess I thought he wasn’t going to make it out,” says William’s mother, Tacia Brentley.

It’s called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 10 children have already died in the U.S.

The mystery disease is linked to COVID-19 infection in children.

The most common symptoms are skin rashes, red eyes, fever, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

“This is occurring somewhere between three and six weeks after acute COVID exposure or infection,” says Dr. Kevin Friedman, of Boston Children’s Hospital. “In some cases, children don’t even know they had COVID and had no acute symptoms.”

The CDC estimates there are nearly 600 cases across 40 states, currently.

Who’s most at-risk?

According to experts, nearly three-quarters of patients are either Latino or African-American.

The median age of patients is eight and just over half of them were boys.

The CDC also reports that obesity can be a common underlying condition.

And almost two-thirds of patients ended up in the ICU.

In Austin, a 16-year-old was treated for the illness in May — spending nine days at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

In an interview with CNN in May, pediatrician Dr. Glenn Budnick explained MIS-C’s similarities to Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation in the walls of arteries and can limit blood flowing into the heart.

“Your immune system is overreacting to the virus, and because these are inflammatory diseases, this overreaction can cause a Kawasaki-like disease,” Budnick said.

In Texas

There are at least two cases of the illness in central Texas, at least two in north Texas, at least three in southwest Texas, and at least one case in east Texas.

For more information on MIS-C, visit the CDC’s website.

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