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Another L.A. County child diagnosed with rare COVID-related syndrome

Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Department of Public Health director, speaks at a news conference earlier this year.
(Irfan Khan/Irfan Khan/Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Another Los Angeles County child has been diagnosed with a rare, potentially deadly syndrome believed to be related to the coronavirus, according to the county Health Department, bringing the total number of children with the ailment in the region to 41.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said all of the children in the county diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome since the beginning of the pandemic had been hospitalized. The department said in a written statement Friday that 70% of the children with MIS-C were Latino, reflecting the high incidence of COVID-19 among Latinos overall.

Although none of the children reported to have the condition in Los Angeles County have died, nearly half have been sick enough to be admitted to the intensive care unit.

Children with the syndrome may have a fever and other symptoms including stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, bloodshot eyes and exhaustion. The syndrome can cause different parts of the body to become inflamed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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“MIS-C is a new syndrome, and many questions remain about why some children and adolescents develop it after a COVID-19 illness or contact with someone with COVID-19 while others do not,” the CDC says.

As of Oct. 1, the CDC has reported 1,027 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children; 20 of the children with the ailment have died. Cases have been confirmed in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

Arizona, California, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Georgia are among the 10 states reporting the highest number of cases.

Just days before the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the county’s 41st MIS-C case, federal health officials reported that multisystem inflammatory syndrome began to show up in adults in the United States and the United Kingdom in June.

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Friday’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” from the federal agency cited 27 adult cases and acknowledged that the data were limited. The CDC called it “an emerging syndrome” in adults and said more research was needed.

Like the childhood version of the ailment, MIS-A seems to affect Latino and Black people more than other populations. And, although it can kill, it usually does not.

“All but one of the patients with MIS-A described in this report belonged to racial or ethnic minority groups,” the CDC reported. “The majority (24 of 27) of patients with MIS-A survived, similar to those with MIS-C, associated with receiving care in acute, often intensive, health care settings.”


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