SC 17-year-old dies from MIS-C, inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19

A transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as the 2019 novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the United States. Note the crown-like spikes on the outer edge of the virus, hence the term "coron (NIAID-RML)

A teenager died this week from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Friday.

According to the report, a 17-year-old in the Upstate region of South Carolina died from MIS-C on Jan. 27.

"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, the state’s chief epidemiologist.

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To protect the privacy of the teen and the family, officials said no other information will be disclosed.

This is the first death in the state related to MIS-C, but at least 42 cases of MIS-C have been reported among children in South Carolina.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, and feeling tired. The majority of children with MIS-C recover.

On July 12, 2020, South Carolina announced its first confirmed cases of MIS-C associated with COVID-19.

"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," DHEC wrote. "While health experts haven’t fully identified the connection between the virus and MIS-C, a surge in COVID-19 cases could lead to more MIS-C cases."

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On Thursday, there were 2,934 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and 226 new deaths.

"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."

Since CDC reporting on MIS-C began in mid-May, 47 states, New York City, and Washington, D.C. have reported at least one case of MIS-C to the CDC. Most of those jurisdictions have had 11 or more reported cases.

In that time, there have been 1,659 cases of MIS-C in the United States and 26 deaths, according to latest data from the CDC as of Jan. 8.

Due to the small number of cases in most states and to protect the privacy of patients and their families, the CDC does not report individual states’ case counts.