ALBANY, N. Y. (NEWS10)- It’s rare but Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C is a condition that can develop in kids who have COVID-19. It can cause inflammation of vital organs and has affected 610 kids in New York as of Jan. 3, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The percentage of kids who die from MIS-C is small, three kids of the 610 cases reported by the DOH died. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. MIS-C can cause permanent damage to organs if not treated properly, said Johns Hopkins.

MIS-C is like Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome, both of which cause inflammation throughout the body, Johns Hopkins said. They also said it more commonly affects kids between the ages of 8-9. In New York the greatest percentage of kids who developed MIS-C were in the 5-11 age group (43%), the DOH said.

Cases of MIS-C in New York as of Jan. 3

AgePercent of cases
Under 14%
5-11- year-olds43%

“We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

Kids under the age of 12 have been some of the last ones to get vaccinated for COVID they have been susceptible to the omicron variant. The DOH warned parents of a significant increase in kids being hospitalized with COVID in New York City and surrounding areas a day before Christmas.

Beginning the week of Dec. 5, the DOH said there were four times as many kids hospitalized with COVID. Most of the kids that were hospitalized were not vaccinated. The week of Dec. 19 the DOH said all kids ages 5-11 and two-thirds of kids ages 12-17 were unvaccinated.

Doctors and researchers are still trying to learn more about MIS-C. Ideally, because of the link between COVID and MIS-C, the best-case scenario would be to prevent kids from getting or being exposed to COVID. The CDC maintains the best way to protect kids from developing MIS-C is for all family members who can get vaccinated and for all to wear a mask especially when community transmission is high.

In the DOH’s warning, Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett encouraged parents to get kids vaccinated. “Protect your children who are five years and older by getting them fully vaccinated and protect children under five by making sure all of those around them have protection through vaccination, boosters, mask-wearing, avoiding crowds, and testing,” she said. 

Kids with MIS-C will not show symptoms right away. Symptoms usually start two or more weeks after a COVID infection, the DOH said Thursday. Parents or caregivers should immediately call the child’s primary health care provider if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • A fever for more than 24 hours
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Skin Rash
  • Stomach Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty feeding (infants) or too sick to drink fluids

Children with any of the following symptoms should get immediate emergency care:

  • Change in skin color – becoming pale, patchy and/or blue
  • Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly
  • Racing heart or chest pain
  • Decreased amount or frequency of urine
  • Confusion, not acting right, or won’t wake up or stay awake

As of Jan. 6, 30.5% of kids aged 5-11 and 72.8% of kids aged 12-17 have received at least one shot of COVID vaccine. While 19.4% of kids aged 5-11 and 64.9% of kids aged 12-17 are fully vaccinated, according to the DOH.