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Clark County sees first confirmed case of COVID-19-related syndrome in kids

Updated June 12, 2020 - 4:47 pm

The first confirmed case in Clark County of a new coronavirus-related syndrome in children was reported Friday by the Southern Nevada Health District.

The confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is in a patient who tested positive for COVID-19, was hospitalized and since been discharged and is recovering.

The syndrome is a rare but serious illness associated with COVID-19. “Parents should watch for symptoms that include fever, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and fatigue,” the health district said in a news release announcing the case.

Many children with the syndrome had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the syndrome, different parts of the body can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. Treatment typically includes supportive care for symptoms and various medications to treat the inflammation.

First documented in U.S. last month

The syndrome was first documented in the U.S. a month ago in New York , where 102 cases were reported, and has since been reported in areas across the country.

The syndrome stems from an over-reaction by the immune system, according to Dr. Robert Smith, associate chief medical officer at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

“You have the infection and your immune system gets all revved up, and even when the infection’s gone, your immune system is still fighting it,” he said, with organs coming under attack and becoming inflamed.

The Review-Journal reported exclusively on Sunday that Sunrise was treating a “handful” of cases of the syndrome, though Friday’s announcement was the first of official confirmation that the illness is present in the Las Vegas Valley.

Before the health district notifies the community of a case, “We have to receive the reports, investigate and confirm the case meets the CDC case definition,” health district spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said of the lag.

There are no other confirmed cases in the state, a Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said late Friday.

The health district advises parents to contact their health care provider if their child develops symptoms, and to seek emergency care immediately if a child is having trouble breathing or experiencing severe chest or stomach pain

‘A rare occurrence’

The syndrome is “a rare occurrence, but it could affect any child in the community,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer for the health district.

The best way to protect children from the syndrome is to protect them from the coronavirus.

“If you’re taking your children to public places, you should be protecting them as much as possible,” including practicing social distancing and having children age 2 and older wear a face covering, Leguen said. Younger children should not wear a face covering to avoid the risk of suffocation.

With schools reopening, the appearance of the syndrome in the community poses some cause for some concern.

“I think schools reopening is something that, of course, brings some concerns similar to reopening the government at large,” Leguen said, though children are far less susceptible to the coronavirus than adults are.

In Clark County, only 1.4 percent of positive tests for the coronavirus have been in children age 4 and under. Just 4.7 percent of cases have been in children 5 to 17. No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in these age groups.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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