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First SC death reported from MIS-C, childhood illness related to COVID-19

Health officials say we could see more cases of MIS-C as the number of COVID infections remains high.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina health officials are reporting the first teen death from MIS-C, a coronavirus-related condition that primarily affects children.

Officials with DHEC said Friday that a 17-year-old in the Upstate region died from MIS-C, or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome,  on January 27. DHEC said they will not released further information about the person to protect the privacy of the child and the family.

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

DHEC says at least 42 cases of MIS-C have been reported among children in South Carolina. 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. 

Back on July 12, South Carolina announced its first confirmed cases of MIS-C associated with COVID-19. MIS-C is a reportable condition to DHEC. 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.

DHEC says a surge in coronavirus cases across the state has led to record numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. They add while they don't fully know the connection between the virus and MIS-C, a surge in COVID-19 cases could lead to more MIS-C cases.

“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 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,” Traxler said.

Important Information for Parents and Caregivers 

DHEC 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. For more information about MIS-C, click here.