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2 children in Florida are battling mystery illness linked to COVID-19

Pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome is rare, but it can be deadly.
Credit: AP
In this 2020 photo provided by Amber Dean 9-year-old Bobby Dean lies in a hospital bed in Rochester, N.Y., after being admitted with severe dehydration, abdominal pain and a racing heart. He tested positive for coronavirus at the hospital and the doctors diagnosed him with a pediatric inflammatory syndrome related to the virus. After six days in the hospital, he was able to go home on Mothers Day. (Dean Family Photo via AP)

MIAMI — The first cases popped up last month in the United Kingdom, and doctors there started sounding the alarm.

Children who tested positive for COVID-19 were suffering from strange new symptoms that resembled Kawasaki disease – a pediatric illness that triggers a rash, causes the hands and feet to swell up and irritates the mouth, lips and throat. The Centers for Disease Control says multisystem inflammatory syndrome can also cause serious heart problems.

And, that’s what public health experts are most worried about.

There have been at least eight cases and one death in the U.K., according to the CDC, and New York City is now seeing a spike. NBC New York reports the city’s health department confirmed 147 cases.

Almost all of them are young children, none are older than 18, and 69 of them tested positive for the coronavirus.

"The CDC has confirmed a link to COVID-19. This is important, we assumed it, but they have done additional research to 100 percent confirm it,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told the news station last week.

New York is not alone.

There are reports of cases in at least 20 states, according to ABC News, and CBS Miami says there are at least two cases at Holtz Children’s Hospital in South Florida.

“Both patients are receiving appropriate treatment in the pediatric intensive care unit and are showing signs of improvement. We have no additional information to release at this time,” Jackson Health System told the news station in a statement.

Related coverage:

VERIFY: Is COVID-19 causing Kawasaki disease in children?

CDC alerts doctors to childhood coronavirus-related syndrome

New York investigating more cases of kids' illness possibly linked to COVID-19

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