GREAT FALLS — The first case of a rare COVID-19-related inflammatory disease in Montana has been reported in a child from Teton County, health officials said.
The patient was treated at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C. It is a condition in which different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The cause is unknown, but many of the children previously had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with the respiratory virus, a CDC official said.
The family of 14-year-old Kyona Yeager of Fairfield has reported she was hospitalized in intensive care in Salt Lake earlier this month with a high fever and an enlarged liver, spleen and gallbladder and fluid in her lungs — an illness that was believed to have followed a COVID-19 infection. Her mother, Kande Yeager, posted a video on Facebook on Aug. 25 that the family was heading home.
“While the majority of children appear to have mild or asymptomatic infection, it is important to remember that some children can develop serious complications like these,” Melissa Moyer, director of the Teton County Health Department, said in a statement Saturday. “We are so grateful that our young Teton County resident is recovered and back at home!”
While MIS-C is rare, state medical officer Dr. Greg Holzman told the Great Falls Tribune that with more children becoming infected with COVID-19, “we would expect to see more cases of this serious disease in our communities.”
From mid-May through Aug. 20, the CDC had received reports of 694 cases of MIS-C in 42 states and 11 deaths. The health agency is still studying the disease, outcomes and risk factors.
Montana’s health department has reported 7,340 known cases of COVID-19 in the state and 104 deaths. The number of infections is believed to be much larger because not everyone has been tested and people can be infected without having symptoms.
Nearly 2,000 people are considered to still be infected, including nearly 950 in Yellowstone County, while 131 people remain hospitalized.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.
Nearly 5,300 Montana residents are considered to have recovered from COVID-19, meaning they no longer test positive for the virus.
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