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Ohio health leaders warn of children contracting multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19

There have been 166 cases of the syndrome in Ohio so far.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Much of the emphasis in the state's fight against COVID-19 has been treating older Ohioans as opposed to youngsters. 

However, during his briefing on Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine and state health experts addressed a growing concern about how the virus is impacting children. 

"COVID has historically affected older Ohioans more than children. But children aren’t immune to getting sick with COVID, and in some rare cases, they can develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome. This can be a serious complication for children," DeWine said. 

There have been 166 cases of the syndrome in Ohio so far. 

"This syndrome is unique because it is not associated with an active COVID infection," explained Dr. Dustin Fleck of Dayton Children's Hospital. "It usually develops 2-4 weeks after a child develops a symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID infection."

Dr. Fleck says the syndrome is characterized by fever and inflammation throughout the body, specifically targeting the heart, but it can also target the GI system, liver, lungs, kidneys, and brain. 

Parents should look for abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swelling of hands/feet, redness of eyes.

DeWine and Dr. Fleck say although the risk for this syndrome is still low, it is still present. Children should still practice social distancing and mask-wearing. Adults should also get their vaccinations to help prevent exposing kids.

You can watch Gov. DeWine's Thursday COVID-19 briefing in the player below:

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