A child in Virginia has died from a serious syndrome linked to COVID-19, known as MIS-C, marking the first reported death from the illness in the state.
The Virginia Department of Health said the child was between 10 and 19 years old and lived in the Prince William Health District.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children is a rare but serious condition linked to the coronavirus which causes different body parts, such as the heart, lungs, brain, or gastrointestinal organs, to become inflamed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It is not clear what exactly causes the syndrome, but it has been detected in many children who had COVID-19. Some of the most common symptoms are an ongoing fever and one or more of the following: stomach pain, bloodshot eyes, diarrhea, dizziness or lightheadedness, skin rash, and/or vomiting.
No further information about the child will be released out of respect for the family and to protect their privacy, the health department said.
“We are devastated by this sad news, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of this child,” Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver said in a statement.
Oliver urged families to get vaccinated and practice safety measures, such as wearing masks, especially during the busy holiday season.
Parents should go to the nearest hospital emergency room if they believe their child shows any severe MIS-C warning signs such as trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that doesn't go away; confusion or unusual behavior; severe abdominal pain; inability to wake or stay awake; or pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds.
One hundred eleven cases of MIS-C have been diagnosed in Virginia, according to data from the state's health department.