More than 150 California children have been diagnosed with a coronavirus-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) throughout the pandemic.
The state Department of Public Health has reported that as of Dec. 14, at least 152 children have been diagnosed with MIS-C, a rare and sometimes deadly inflammatory illness that scientists believe can infect children who have been exposed to the coronavirus.
MIS-C causes reactions similar to Kawasaki syndrome with organs and tissues, such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes becoming inflamed, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Many children who are diagnosed with MIS-C have a positive coronavirus antibody test result, meaning they have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. Symptoms of the syndrome include fever, pain in the stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, red lips, bloodshot eyes and exhaustion.
Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 1,288 cases of MIS-C, which led to the deaths of at least 23 children, as of Dec. 4. A Los Angeles Times analysis determined the number of cases has increased by more than 125 percent since July.
The CDC instructed health care providers to report cases of MIS-C in a May emergency advisory.
Early data for MIS-C has determined that, like COVID-19, the syndrome has disproportionately affected Black and Latino children. The CDC reports that 40 percent of diagnosed MIS-C cases occur among Latino children, 36 percent among Black children and 15 percent among white children.
Out of the 49 MIS-C cases identified in Los Angeles County, 73 percent occurred among Latino children, as of Friday. All 49 children confirmed to have MIS-C were hospitalized.
The Mayo Clinic notes that studies are needed to determine why Black and Latino children have been diagnosed more in the U.S. and whether that relates to a lack of health care access.
Los Angeles County has reported one MIS-C death this month, without identifying the child, who officials have said had a “complex, preexisting cardiac condition,” according to the Times. California does not distinguish MIS-C deaths from COVID-19 fatalities and has documented three coronavirus deaths among children 17 or younger.