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Two South Florida children hospitalized for illness linked to coronavirus

The kids are being cared for at Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami.

At least two children in South Florida are hospitalized for an inflammatory illness that health officials believe is connected to COVID-19.

The kids are being cared for at Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami, Jackson Health System confirmed Tuesday morning.

“Holtz Children’s Hospital has two confirmed cases that meet the criteria for multi-system inflammatory syndrome. Both patients are receiving appropriate treatment in the pediatric intensive care unit, and are showing signs of improvement. We have no additional information to release at this time,” Jackson Health System said in an emailed statement to the Miami Herald.

Related: What you need to know about a coronavirus-linked condition affecting children

Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, has been described as “inflammation (swelling) across multiple body systems,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This can include the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs.

The CDC sent out a health advisory to doctors across the country last week, alerting them to the syndrome, which can begin weeks after a child is infected with COVID-19, including in those who were asymptomatic. The advisory lists potential MIS-C patients as those who are younger than 21.

Doctors in the United Kingdom first alerted other doctors to the syndrome in April. Since then, MIS-C has been seen in children across Europe and in at least 18 states, plus Washington, D.C., CNN reports.

Many of the children diagnosed with the syndrome tested positive for COVID-19, were previously infected with the novel coronavirus or had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. It’s still unknown if the syndrome can also affect adults or if there are certain children who are at higher risk of falling ill with the syndrome.

Florida’s Department of Health did not immediately respond to the Miami Herald’s inquiry about how many confirmed or possible reports it had received about the syndrome.

Symptoms associated with MIS-C can include fever, abdominal and neck pain, vomiting and diarrhea, rashes and feeling tired, but not all children will have the same symptoms, according to the CDC. Its symptoms can sometimes be similar to those of Kawasaki disease, which primary affects children younger than 5.

Parents who notice their children experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms or other concerning signs should contact their pediatrician, the CDC says.

Children should also be taken to the ER immediately if they begin to experience “emergency warning signs” including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face or severe abdominal pain.

The CDC says it’s working with state and local health departments across the United States and with international partners to learn more about MIS-C, including how common it is and who is at risk.

The CDC says children “do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults” and the children who do fall ill with the disease “have generally shown mild symptoms” such as fever, runny nose and coughing.

As of April 2, there have been three deaths among children in the United States who were known to have tested positive for COVID-19, but it’s still “unclear” how the disease contributed to their cause of death, the CDC says. None of the deaths were in Florida.

As of Monday, of the more than 45,000 Florida residents known to have tested positive for COVID-19:

▪ 290 are children between the ages of 0 to 4. Of those, 17 were hospitalized at some point during their illness.

▪ 629 are children between the ages of 5-14. Of those, 16 were hospitalized at some point during their illness.

▪ 3,577 are people between the ages of 15-24. Of those, 126 were hospitalized at some point during their illness.

To learn more about ways to help protect and care for your child during the COVID-19 crisis, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children.html

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