Coronavirus: Doctors find deadly COVID-19 condition more common among children

Local dad wants to help parents recognize sign of mysterious illness

JACKSONVILLE, Fla, — Local doctors say a potentially deadly illness that affects children after they get COVID-19 is on the rise.

Doctors are warning parents about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C for short, as they notice the post-COVID-19 condition is more common among children.

“She was such a beautiful soul,” Dearick Nealy said of his eight-year-old daughter, Deaurra.

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Nealy described his daughter as a happy, bright and healthy kid. He says she passed away suddenly back in January from MIS-C. Nealy said his family didn’t see it coming.

“She was just such a perfect child,” Nealy added, saying that Deaurra leaves behind two brothers.

Deaurra was taken to the hospital for stomach pain and a rash on a Wednesday night in January, and by Friday she was gone.

Nealy says he doesn’t like talking about his daughter’s death, but he shares her story to potentially save other children.

“If I can help another parent not to experience what I’m experiencing I’ll do as much as I can,” Nealy said.

The condition causes inflammation throughout the body, affecting the heart, lungs and brain among other organs, says Dr. Mobeen Rathore, Chief of Infectious Disease & Immunology, Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

“This is a relatively new infection we have only known if for 14 months,” Rathore explained.

Dr. Rathore says MIS-C is present among children here in Northeast Florida.

“We are definitely seeing a lot more children with MIS-C after the first and the second wave,” he said.

Action News Jax dug through state records and found nine local cases of MIS-C in children. Ages ranged from two to 16 years old. In Florida, 113 cases have been reported.

Nealy wants parents to be more vigilant than ever.

“In a week you’ve lost everything you’ve raised and had so many plans for,” he said.

Dr. Rathore tells Action News Jax he expects to see more MIS-C cases.