MONTPELIER, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The first child in the Southeastern Idaho Public Health District has been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.
MIS-C is a rare but serious complication of Covid-19, where children's organs and tissues--like the brain, heart, lungs, skin and eyes--become severely inflamed.
Cooper Wuthrich, a 12-year-old boy from Montpelier, tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 26 and had mild symptoms. But it wasn't until a month later, after returning to school feeling fine, that his organs started to inflame.
"That’s when Cooper started to have some headaches and his fever started to spike uncontrollably. We were reading like 103.1, 103.3 (degrees) here at home. Vomiting, horrible headaches, body aches and pains,” said Cooper's dad, Kale Wuthrich.
The Wuthrichs took Cooper to a primary care doctor in town, assuming it was his appendix.
“We thought, oh it’s not Covid, we’ve been healthy for weeks now,” Kale Wuthrich said.
But it was Covid. Cooper is among the 1,571 children in Southeast Idaho who have tested positive for coronavirus, but is the only one to be diagnosed with MIS-C, according to public health officials.
“Covid causes your immune system to go crazy and they don’t know why,” said Cooper's mom, Dani Wuthrich.
When treatment for Cooper's appendix didn't work, doctors rushed him to Salt Lake City.
“When we got to Primary Children’s, he was not just having an appendix problem, his life was truly on the line,” Kale said.
It took Cooper a while to grasp how serious the situation was, but once they got to Primary Children's he understood.
“All of a sudden, he looked over at me and said, ‘Mom, am I fighting for my life?’” Dani said.
Doctors at Primary Children's found a clot in Cooper's lung that they're treating with anticoagulants.
“We’re hopeful that the medicines will dissolve the blood clot, but who knows when they take him off the anticoagulants that he might get a clot somewhere else,” Dani said.
His right ventricle of his heart is still swollen, and he will likely need surgery on his appendix.
The long term affects are unknown. It's possible Cooper won't be able to fully recover. The idea of playing basketball on his middle school team is off the table for the foreseeable future.
Right now, Cooper said he feels tired all the time. His parents say his energy only lasts him an hour or two in the morning. On Wednesday, the family decided to test out his strength.
"We went to the school, made it one loop through the hallway, and Cooper got a bloody nose just walking with us. That shows us how fragile he still is,” Kale said.
The Wuthrich's want families to understand how serious this syndrome is. They hope their experience will help parents watch out for signs and symptoms of MIS-C.
MIS-C can take weeks after a Covid-19 diagnosis to develop. In serious cases, it can cause severe stomach pain, difficulty breathing, bluish lips or face, new confusion, and/or an inability to wake up or stay awake.
The Wuthrich's suggest families have a good thermometer and a pulse oxygen meter (like the ones that go on your finger) to help monitor their symptoms.
Cooper is also participating in a 5-year study, called MUSIC, or Long-Term Outcomes after the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children. He'll be among 600 other young people with MIS-C in the U.S. and Canada, participating in a research study to learn more about the syndrome and it's long-term health effects on children.
Click here to see a list of symptoms of MIS-C.