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Virginia Hospital Sees Surge in Children With COVID-Related Syndrome

A Virginia hospital is experiencing a spike in cases of youths with a rare coronavirus-related complication that has largely affected children of color.

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU said 15 children were hospitalized at one point last month with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), The Associated Press reported, citing a local ABC News affiliate.

The total is the hospital’s peak since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic and well above the usual two or three such cases it sees at any given time, AP reported.

MIS-C causes widespread inflammation in various tissues and organ systems, including the heart, brain, lungs and kidneys. Though the cause of the illness hasn’t been pinpointed, it’s largely been found in children who’ve had the coronavirus or been in contact with someone else who has.

Though adults can also suffer from the syndrome, it thus far has mostly affected children with an average age of 9 years old, the ABC affiliate reported.

Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, director of the hospital’s Mother-Infant Unit, told the affiliate that the hospital’s 50 cases since the pandemic began mostly have been among children of color, though she expressed optimism that the surges will slow now that younger children can now receive vaccines.

Vaccinations for children between 5 and 11 years old began in earnest nationwide after the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency-use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group on Oct. 29 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a formal recommendation four days later.

Of Virginia’s roughly 723,000 children in that age group, about 136,000 have gotten at least one vaccine dose as of Monday, according to a state-run dashboard.

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