RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Department of Health has confirmed five cases in the Richmond area of a pediatric inflammatory illness associated with the coronavirus.

The department said in a news release on Monday that the condition is known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C.

The syndrome is a relatively new health condition that is associated with COVID-19. It causes inflammation of one or more organ systems. Those include the heart, lungs and brain.

MIS-C can be serious and even deadly. But most children who've been diagnosed with it have improved with medical care.

The department said the MIS-C cases have coincided with the surge in cases of COVID-19 in the Richmond metro area. Other states have also reported increases in MIS-C as the overall COVID rate has risen.

“Our heartfelt concerns are with these children and their families,” Dr. Tom Franck, Chickahominy Health District director, said. “These cases serve as an important reminder that COVID-19 can affect people of all ages. Even as our vaccination campaign continues to reach more and more people, we cannot let our guard down and we must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of this infection.”

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