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DENVER (KDVR) — As COVID-19 cases surged in Colorado in the late fall, the rare illness that impacts children followed suit at the end of the year.

Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) says the state reported its highest number of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in December. The state currently has 29 cases of MIS-C confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and expects that count to go higher has December cases continue to get reviewed.

“There’s still a lot we don’t know about MIS-C and the notable increase in cases is a clear reminder that our children are also at risk of serious complications from COVID-19,” said Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer for the CDPHE. “As in-person learning resumes, it’s important that students continue to take measures to decrease the spread of COVID-19, such as masking, practicing physical distancing, hand washing, and staying home when they are ill.”

Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Children’s Hospital Colorado Dr. Sam Dominguez says the trend parallels the number of COVID-19 cases in the fall. 

Symptoms start manifesting in children sometimes weeks after infection with COVID-19, and severe cases can send children into shock.

“It can be as short as one or two days of high fevers, and then evidence of inflammation,” Dominguez said. “They can have a rash, (rashes) are seen commonly in these kids, or what we call mucocutaneous involvement, so red eyes or red lips.”

While there is a lot we still don’t know about the illness, there are ways to treat it. Children’s Hospital Colorado has frequently asked questions about the disease, and advice for parents.

“The best way not to get MIS-C is not to get infected with COVID,” Dominguez said. “Continue to do the same public health measures we’ve been doing all along to keep all of us safe and our children safe.”

Two children have died of MIS-C in Colorado. Both cases were in spring 2020.