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North Dakota reports rare disease in child with COVID-19

BISMARCK (AP) — A North Dakota child with COVID-19 has been confirmed to have a rare condition that causes inflammation in different parts of the body, state health officials said Friday.

The child, who was discharged from the hospital and is resting at home, is the first confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in the state. Officials did not release the age or gender of the child, where the child lives or how he or she might have contracted COVID-19.

“This development is an unfortunate reminder that COVID-19 can impact people of any age, even children,” Dr. Joan Connell, Department of Health field medical officer and pediatrician, said in a statement. “The best way to help prevent your child from getting MIS-C is to take action to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus and teach your child how to do the same.”

MIS-C — short for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children — can inflame the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. Children with it have experienced persistent fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, and fatigue. Long-term effects are unknown.

Connell said the cause of the syndrome is unknown, but in many cases, the child either had tested positive for COVID-19 or was exposed to someone with the virus.

As of Oct. 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received reports of 1,163 confirmed cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children ranging from 1 to 20 years old. There have been 20 deaths.

The news comes as North Dakota reported 1,764 new coronavirus cases on Friday, shattering its previous single-day record for new cases. State health officials said there are now 9,814 active COVID-19 cases in the state — more than at any other time during the pandemic. The state also reported 17 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 613 since the pandemic began. The Bismarck Tribune reports that 54 of those deaths have happened since the start of November.

A total of 238 people were hospitalized in North Dakota as of Friday, another new high.

The new numbers come a day after Gov. Doug Burgum again urged North Dakota residents to do their part to keep numbers down by wearing masks and social distancing.

Burgum, a Republican, has avoided statewide mandates. On Thursday, he raised the coronavirus risk level in several North Dakota counties — with no counties remaining in the lowest risk categories.