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DHHS official: 25 N.C. children have developed rare, mysterious illness after COVID-19

DHHS official: 25 N.C. children have developed rare, mysterious illness after COVID-19

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RALEIGH — North Carolina has reported 25 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a severe condition that some children develop as much as a month after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

During a meeting Monday of the N.C. Child Fatality Task Force, Kelly Kimple, the head of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' Women's and Children's Health Section, said two additional cases of MIS-C were diagnosed in the last week.

Abdominal pain and vomiting were the most frequent symptoms of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, followed closely by skin rash and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not every child will have the same symptoms, the CDC cautioned, and parents should seek medical care immediately if their children show any symptoms.

Neck pain, red eyes and unusual fatigue are also associated with the syndrome.

The condition seems to develop two weeks to a month after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, according to the CDC.

According to a CDC report about the 570 patients diagnosed with MIS-C between March and July, 364, or 64%, spent time in the intensive care unit. The median hospital stay for someone diagnosed with the syndrome was six days.

In North Carolina, there have been 18,358 confirmed COVID-19 cases in children, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. One North Carolina child, an 8-year-old Durham girl, has died from COVID-19.

While children account for a relatively small 11% of cases statewide, Kimple said, "That does not mean that there's not a great impact to the children throughout our state and nation."

Kimple also said that because many children show mild or no symptoms, there may have been an undercount of cases among young people in the state.

"More cases have been detected recently," Kimple said, "but we've also been expanding testing availability and so more asymptomatic contacts may have been tested."

This reporting is financially supported by Report for America/GroundTruth Project and The North Carolina Local News Lab Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation. The News & Observer maintains full editorial control of the work.

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