COVID-linked Illness MIS-C Kills First Child in L.A. County, More Cases Likely

A child in Los Angeles County died this week from a COVID-related syndrome called MIS-C, health officials in California have confirmed.

The patient died from complications relating to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) while being treated at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. They suffered from a "complex, preexisting cardiac condition," a hospital spokesperson said.

The case is believed to mark the first COVID-related death of a child in the county, the Los Angeles Times reported. The hospital public relations team said no further details could be made public at this time due to rules surrounding patient privacy.

Scientists do not know what causes MIS-C but it seems children with the syndrome had the virus that causes COVID, or were in contact with someone with the disease.

The condition causes various body parts to become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or the gastrointestinal organs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has logged 1,288 cases in total.

Dr. Jackie Szmuszkovicz, pediatric cardiologist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, told the L.A. Times she expects to see additional cases. "With the number of cases we're seeing in Los Angeles now, I do expect to see more children with MIS-C coming into the hospital in the next few weeks," she said. "We're at a critical moment right now."

The children's hospital has been contacted for comment by Newsweek.

While the facility did not comment further on the death, it told CBSLA its doctors have treated 32 patients with MIS-C, with patients ranging from four months to 17-years old. It noted that 31 patients had been "successfully treated and discharged."

The CDC says children with the syndrome could show a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloodshot eyes, neck pain, rashes, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea.

The agency said most cases have been in children and adolescents between the ages of one and 14-years-old, with an average age of eight. Over 75 percent of reported MIS-C cases occurred in children who are Hispanic or Latino (460) or Black (410).

It said that 99 percent of patients tested positive for SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. The remaining one percent were around someone with COVID. Most children developed MIS-C between two and four weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

According to the latest statistics from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, there are 43 children in the county confirmed to have been hospitalized with MIS-C and nearly half of the patients had to be treated in intensive care units.

It said "26 percent were under the age of 5 years old, 37 percent were between the ages of 5 and 11 years old, and 37 percent were between the ages of 12 and 20 years old." Latino/Latinx children had accounted for 72 percent of reported cases.

There are at least 145 cases of MIS-C among children in California, according to the latest figures from the state's Department of Public Health, published Wednesday.

In a blog posted Tuesday, Children's Hospital Los Angeles said MIS-C is similar to other inflammatory conditions, such as Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.

"MIS-C does not appear to be limited to children who already have another chronic or significant illness that compromises their immune system. If you think that your child has MIS-C, you should contact your doctor or pediatrician immediately," it stated.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles
General views of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, USC Keck School of Medicine on November 13. AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty