Riverside County health officials Tuesday reported the county’s first case of a rare COVID-19 complication that primarily affects children.

A child suffering from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, lives in western Riverside County and is younger than 15 years old, according to the Riverside University Health System. A second child living in the Coachella Valley may also be suffering from MIS-C, although the diagnosis is not yet confirmed, officials said.

MIS-C primarily affects children, but can also be found in people up to 21 years old, resulting in inflammation of body parts including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs, potentially having life-long health impacts.

It remains unclear what causes MIS-C, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although many children with MIS-C have been at one point infected with the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, or have been around someone with COVID-19, the CDC said.

“While most children are only minimally sickened by COVID-19, they can get it just as easily as adults, and an unlucky few will have serious complications,” county Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said. “While this case is not known to be linked to any school, it’s a reminder we need to pay attention to COVID-19 in kids and its potential long- and short-term effects.”

Parents whose children may be displaying symptoms of MIS-C were urged to contact their doctor.

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