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Deadly illness in children linked to COVID-19 confirmed in Austin hospital, more cases suspected

The rare – and sometimes deadly – mystery illness linked to the coronavirus has affected hundreds of children across the country.

AUSTIN, Texas — Dell Children's Medical Center has reported treating one case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) and suspects cases in a few more children.

MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs, according to the CDC.

"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 CDC said on its website. "MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care."

Dr. Coburn Allen, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Dell Medical School, said doctors and health experts do not know much about the virus yet, but more cases could pop up locally soon. 

RELATED: Several children at Texas Children's Hospital have multisystem inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID-19

"Anywhere that has had a recent peak in their infections, which is us, will likely see more cases after the peak than before the peak," Dr. Allen said. 

The Texas Department of Health Services confirmed fewer than 10 suspected cases in Texas, and only one confirmed case – but not in Travis County.

"We’re continuing to reach out when we hear of suspected cases," DSHS spokesperson Lyndsey Rosales said.

When KVUE asked Austin Public Health about MIS-C in Austin, an official said, "To date, we have not received any confirmed cases, just two suspects that I'm aware of."

Dr. Allen said people do not need to worry too much about more people contracting MIS-C because many children have responded well to treatment. 

"We've had enough experience now to know that, in general, most of these kids do fine," Dr. Allen said. 

RELATED: Rare but potentially deadly inflammatory disease in children reported at DC hospital

KVUE's Brad Streicher received the following statement from Dell Children's Medical Center:

"Dell Children's Medical Center has treated one case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) and a few suspected cases in children. Due to patient privacy, we will be unable to provide additional information regarding the MIS-C case. Infection prevention team members at Dell Children's are working closely with the CDC and local public health authorities to detect, protect, and respond in accordance with current recommendations and guidelines. Parents or caregivers who have concerns about their child’s health, including concerns about MIS-C or COVID-19 should call a pediatrician or other healthcare provider immediately.  

Dell Children's has comprehensive and detailed protocols in place to safely manage any MIS-C patients or COVID-19 patients. Preparedness efforts are ongoing and involve local, statewide and national resources. Our priority is to reduce transmission risk among patients and associates, protect people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, and maintain effective operations to serve our communities."

WATCH: Coronavirus in Austin: Austin leaders answer COVID-19 questions


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