A child in New York City has become the first American child to die of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare condition associated with COVID-19 that only presents in juveniles.
As NBC News reports, the Mount Sinai Health System confirmed in a statement that the unidentified 5-year-old boy died in one of its facilities.
“This is an extremely rare and previously unknown presentation of COVID-19 in children. We extend our deepest condolences to the family in the wake of this tragedy,” the hospital group said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the state health department is investigating multiple other cases of the illness in area children.
“This would be really painful news and would open an entirely different chapter,” Cuomo said.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the illness first began turning up in children in the U.K., before later being observed in the U.S.
Children sickened with the illness experience inflammation of the blood vessels, including coronary arteries. In the U.S. and U.K. cases, some of the kids with the condition have become so sick that they have required blood pressure support or were even placed on a ventilator.
The illness is similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, the former of which appears only in children, when the blood vessels become severely inflamed.
This particular iteration of the illness appears to be tied in some way to COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. All of the children who have come down with the illness, on both sides of the Atlantic, have tested positive for the virus. However, a clear relationship between the illness and COVID-19 has not yet been scientifically established, as of this writing.
Across the U.S., nearly 100 children have presented with the illness, in at least eight states — California, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington state, as well as Washington, D.C.
In New York, health officials are asking parents to keep an eye on their children for symptoms of the illness. Those symptoms include a fever lasting for five or more days, difficulty feeding (in infants), severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, change in skin color (particularly if the skin is turning blue), chest pain, or lethargy, among other symptoms.
The New York child is the first to die of the illness in the U.S., but not the first to die worldwide. In the U.K., a 14-year-old boy has also died from the illness.