Three more New Jersey children have been diagnosed in recent days with an inflammatory illness thought to be linked to the novel coronavirus, bringing the state total to 42.

Additionally, state health commissioner Judith Persichilli said this week another young New Jersey child with COVID-19 has died, the second in the state. The child had underlying conditions. Persichilli declined to give the child's exact age or location, citing privacy concerns.

That child did not have multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children — also known as MIS-C — a condition researchers are still studying to understand its seeming link to the coronavirus.

A 4-year-old child who died in May was the first to die from coronavirus in New Jersey.

Most people who contract the coronavirus exhibit few or no symptoms, and children are generally thought to be far more resistant to it than adults. But in the case of MIS-C, they develop symptoms similar to that of Kawasaki’s disease, but more severely, according to Stanford Children's Health. Young children who develop MIS-C are brought to the hospital in shock or suffering from heart failure, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, rash, red eyes and diarrhea.

Persichilli announced one additional case during Wednesday's daily briefing and two on Tuesday for a total of 43 cases during the pandemic.  Five children are currently hospitalized with MIS-C because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have anti-body tests that were positive indicating exposure to the virus, she said.

No children in New Jersey have died because of MIS-C, according to Persichilli.

Dr. Sue Mah, medical director of Pediatric Care at AtlantiCare’s Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, earlier told New Jersey 101.5 that “MIS-C itself is not contagious. It’s almost like an auto-immune syndrome where the body had been exposed to an infection, in this case COVID-19, and is now attacking itself.”

She added if we do see a spike in coronavirus cases among kids after daycare and camps open, it’s possible there may also be an increase in MIS-C. Child care facilities were allowed to open this week in New Jersey while summer camps will be allowed to open after July 6.

 

Previous reporting by David Matthau was used in this report

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