First North Dakota child with COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome reported

3D print of a SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—virus particle. The virus surface (blue) is covered with spike proteins (red) that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells. (Submitted / National Institutes of Health)

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Friday, Nov. 6, reported the state's first case of a child developing multisystem inflammatory syndrome after they contracted COVID-19.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is a rare and potentially deadly condition that affects children who have been infected with COVID-19 or been around someone infected with the coronavirus. Parts of the body like the brain, heart, lungs and kidneys can become inflamed, and the child can also experience fever, rash and vomiting, among other symptoms.

Nationwide, 20 deaths had resulted from the condition as of Oct. 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The long-term effects of the syndrome are unknown, and it's also unclear why some children develop the condition while others do not, the CDC says.

The state health department says the North Dakota child has been discharged from the hospital. The child's age and hometown were not disclosed.

“This development is an unfortunate reminder that COVID-19 can impact people of any age, even children,” said Dr. Joan Connell, North Dakota's field medical officer, in a news release.


Since the coronavirus was first detected in the state in March, over 8,500 North Dakota youth, ages 0-19, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to health department figures.

Most children develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome around two to four weeks after being infected with COVID-19. Cases have occurred in children ages 1 to 20, with most patients between 1 and 14, the health department said in a news release.

The majority of multisystem inflammatory syndrome cases have occurred in people of color, predominantly those who are Hispanic, Latino or Black, according to the CDC. More than 75% of reported cases have occurred in children who are Hispanic, Latino or Black.

Nearly 1,200 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome had been confirmed in the United States as of Oct. 30, according to the CDC.

“The best way to help prevent your child from getting (multisystem inflammatory syndrome) is to take action to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus and teach your child how to do the same," Connell said in Friday's news release.

Parents should seek emergency care if their child has trouble breathing, bluish lips, severe abdominal pain, chest pain or pressure, confusion or the inability to wake or stay awake.

Readers can Reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at

Michelle (she/her, English speaker) is a Bismarck-based journalist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and Report for America, a national service organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities.
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