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Months after rare post-COVID-19 diagnosis, Texas boy is still struggling

Angie Abbott said her son, Cason, was diagnosed with MIS-C after having COVID-19 last November. He still is not healthy and now is considered a 'long hauler.'

FORT WORTH, Texas — Eleven-year-old Cason Abbott spends the majority of his days sleeping.

"He will sleep until probably about 2:00 in the afternoon," said his mother, Angie. "He gets up. I fix him something to eat. He'll lay on the couch."

It's a far cry from the active, baseball-loving fifth grader he was before his MIS-C diagnosis.

"It's one day at a time. He can't do any kind of physical activity right now," Angie said.

WFAA first profiled Cason in December. The Abilene boy was being treated at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children, or MIS-C. It's a rare, severe illness children can get after having COVID-19, said Dr. Suzanne Whitworth, director of pediatric infectious diseases at Cook Children's.

"We've had 94 [cases] so far since the start of the pandemic," the doctor said. And they are still seeing MIS-C cases, Dr. Whitworth added, including one within the past couple of days.

RELATED: Mother of son fighting post-COVID illness urges parents to recognize MIS-C symptoms

The CDC reports 2,617 cases nationally that meet the MIS-C case definition since mid-May 2020.

"I think that parents should know children can develop MIS-C even if the parents are not aware the child had COVID," she said. Typically, symptoms show up four to six weeks after the child had the coronavirus.

Whitworth said MIS-C is marked by high fever, inflammation, significant abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and more. It's so bad, she said, the children end up hospitalized. 

RELATED: 5 children, including Parker County girl, fight MIS-C at Cook Children's; mom tells parents to learn the signs

Often there's a rash, too; Cason's had the rash most days, his mom said.

"COVID was really a walk in the park compared to MIS-C," Angie Abbott said. "And now we're affected by this 'long haulers.'" Her son, she said, has now also been diagnosed has having 'Long COVID,' which is also rare in children. It's where symptoms persist long after the infection.

"Just fatigued, joint pain, he runs a fever off and on," she said of Cason's symptoms.

Angie isn't sure if it's the MIS-C or long COVID symptoms, but months after recovering from COVID, Cason's still unable to do much but sleep. He makes regular trips to Cook Children's and hasn't been in school since December.

She is sharing their story so parents remain aware.

"Right now is the time he would’ve been shining, because last year he pitched on his baseball team. And this year, he doesn’t even feel like going and watching his friends play baseball," Angie said. "I don't know when Cason will return back to a normal life. I hope it's soon."