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18-year-old with MIS-C, a complication associated with COVID-19, has died, Texas health officials say

The teen was from Public Health Region 8, which includes Bexar County and other south-central Texas counties.

SAN ANTONIO — An 18-year-old from the San Antonio area has died after contracting a mysterious illness that has been associated with the coronavirus.

The state health department is reporting the first death in Texas from this rare but serious complication. Health officials are calling the combination of health problems MIS-C, or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children.

The condition can impact the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.

Officials said many of the children who have been diagnosed have either had the coronavirus or been around someone with it.

While they look for a cause for this troubling syndrome, they said the list of associated symptoms is long and can include fevers, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rashes, bloodshot eyes or feeling extra tired.

“Once an individual or a child has COVID, we don't know which of those might develop the MIS and which ones do not," said Rita Espinoza, chief of epidemiology for Metro Health. "So the most prevention is making sure to social distance, staying away from others that are ill and using the mask if it is age-appropriate.”

Health officials say the teen who died had underlying health conditions, and was from Texas Region 8, the area that includes Bexar and surrounding counties.

“The most important thing is prevention, so it's really preventing them from getting COVID-19 in the first place so they have to take all the precautions that are necessary to prevent coming in contact or being exposed," Espinoza said. 

State health officials said parents should try to protect their kids from exposure to the virus and seek medical care for any child with symptoms. They added that health care providers should report suspected cases to their local public health department.