As cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) continue to rise, a report from USA Today details the account of one 12-year-old boy who became sick with the condition.

In December 2020, Rohen Stamey, 12, tested positive for COVID-19, but he experienced very few symptoms. A month later, Rohen became very ill with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Until Rohen fell ill, mom Nickey Stamey had never even heard of it. “I had no idea what was happening,” Stamey, 41, of Burnsville, North Carolina, told TODAY. “He was just so sick.”

Stamey’s mother passed away on Dec. 8, 2020 due to complications related to COVID-19. Then 10 days later, Rohen and Stamey became sick. Her son’s symptoms were short lived. After a day, he seemed fine. A month later on Saturday, Jan. 16, Rohen suddenly became surprisingly sick. “His fever was so high I actually thought my thermometer was broken,” she said. “(But) he responded to Tylenol.”

Last spring, doctors first started observing children with a severe inflammatory response after having a COVID-19 infection, but there were many unknowns. Since then, experts understand more, yet still crave more data about it. “We have a better handle on what this looks like and a little bit of the spectrum of disease. We know a little bit more about treating it, which is also really helpful. It was really a black box in the spring,” explained Dr. Mary Beth Son, director of the rheumatology program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “I don’t think we know yet the risk factors for why some children get it and others don’t.”

Recent research suggests that children between 6 and 12 years old and children of color are more likely to develop MIS-C, but the reasons why are still unclear. The National Institutes of Health is enrolling patients in several studies to gain a better understanding of MIS-C, including trying to figure out why these children seem more likely to develop it.

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