Parents warn others about MIS-C after 6-year-old lands in intensive care

Oct 4, 2021, 7:56 PM | Updated: 9:24 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A young boy from Las Vegas has been fighting for his life in Primary Children’s Hospital with a rare condition caused by COVID-19.

His parents said he went from a healthy 6-year-old to a very sick boy in a matter of 36 hours.

He is still listed in critical condition, but the parents are optimistic his condition has stabilized.

The rare, extreme COVID-related syndrome is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

Zyaire’s parents wanted to share his story because the syndrome nearly killed their son.

“It was worse in the blink of an eye,” said Sharella Ruffin, Zyaire’s mother. “It was like, he went in the hospital and my son wasn’t moving anymore.”

Two weeks ago, Zyaire Bell was an athletic, happy boy, who enjoyed dancing and spending time with his family.

Zyaire Bell pictured with his mother, Sharella Ruffin. (Courtesy: Sharella Ruffin)

Right now, he’s recovering from MIS-C on advanced life support at Primary Children’s Hospital.

“It was unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like this. It scared me so bad,” his mother said.

About 10 days ago, back home in Las Vegas, Zyaire complained of a headache and his mom gave him an Ibuprofen.

Two days later, he developed a rash and she took him to the hospital.

“They specifically told me nothing was wrong with my son,” Ruffin said. “They said he had some type of virus, whatever, but they don’t know what it is.”

She said they gave her son a COVID test, but never sent the test in.

While they were following up with their pediatrician, the 6-year-old had an epileptic seizure and was rushed to the hospital.

“They determined all of the symptoms with my son. They said it’s due to COVID-19,” she said.

Doctors determined he had MIS-C, a syndrome that develops after COVID.

Zyaire never tested positive for COVID-19, and his parents said he never knowingly had the virus, but his parents said he has COVID antibodies, which would indicate he had the virus at some time.

“He wasn’t moving. He wasn’t responsive,” Ruffin said of her son when they first rushed him to the hospital. “They had to put an IV on him, run so many tests. It was a scary situation.”

Doctors performed heart surgery on Zyaire in Las Vegas and flew him to Primary Children’s Hospital Thursday.

According to his parents, he’s on an ECMO machine that provides life support by pumping and supplying oxygen to his blood.

“I guess that’s a machine that’s going to help him breathe and filter the blood so he doesn’t have to work so hard on his own,” said Edwin Bell, Zyaire’s father.

If your child develops a headache, fatigue, or unexplained rash, don’t dismiss it.

They believe their son contracted the virus at school.

Zyaire Bell stops for a picture before he goes to school. (Courtesy: Sharella Ruffin)

Their advice to other parents: “Keep a close eye on them. Wear your masks. Protect yourself. Protect your children.”

According to Primary Children’s Hospital, doctors have treated treated more than 110 cases of MIS-C since the beginning of the pandemic — 95 of them Utah children, according to the Utah Department of Health.

In recent weeks, several children have been treated for the syndrome at the hospital.

The peak, so far, for MIS-C at Primary Children’s Hospital was 22 cases at one point in Jan. 2021.

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Parents warn others about MIS-C after 6-year-old lands in intensive care