BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Deaths from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in Louisiana make up more than 16 percent of all deaths from the syndrome in the U.S., according to the most recent data available from the Louisiana Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
MIS-C is a serious health condition in young people less than 21 years of age where different body organs can become inflamed and fail. These include the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
As of July 30, the latest data available from the CDC, that there have been 4,404 cases nationwide in which patients meet the definition of the condition and 37 patients have died from it.
There were 157 MIS-C cases and six deaths among children in Louisiana as of July 30, according to Louisiana Department of Health data. Those deaths add up to 16.21% of the deaths reported nationwide.
Twenty-six more cases and two more deaths have been reported since July 30, for a total of 183 cases and eight deaths in the state from the rare inflammatory syndrome as of August 18.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and state health and hospital leaders focused a large part of his weekly briefing Friday on the troubling surge in COVID cases among children across the state.
Over the past week, 1,700 cases have been reported among those aged zero to four and 5,700 new cases have been reported among those between the ages of five and 17, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health.
“It’s all the more reason that we have to do what we can to protect kids. And we need to be very mindful of the fact that while 2.2 million Louisianans have received the shot, not a single Louisianian 12 has received the vaccine.”
What’s more, State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said during the briefing that the positivity rates among children are “quite high,” indicating more children have been infected than are being confirmed through tests reported to the state. The positivity rate among children aged zero to four was 17.5 percent and 28 percent among children aged five to 17. Both are higher than the current statewide average of 15.5 percent.
“That’s a marker of a lot of disease in these age groups. There were myths earlier on in the pandemic that kids don’t get COVID and don’t spread COVID. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Our kids are absolutely getting COVID, absolutely spreading COVID,” Kanter said, citing a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed kids are highly effective vectors for spreading the virus to the rest of their households.
More about MIS-C
Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or feeling extra tired. The specific cause of MIS-C is not yet understood, but it is known to occur in some children and teenagers who have contracted COVID-19 or been exposed to another individual with COVID-19.
MIS-C is a mandatory reportable condition in Louisiana and the Department of Health urges clinicians across the state to report immediately any suspected cases to LDH.
LDH recommends parents and caregivers watch for the symptoms of MIS-C in their children. Emergency warning signs of MIS-C include trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure that does not go away, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, and severe abdominal pain. More information about MIS-C can be found here.