8-year-old Florida Keys boy hospitalized with illness caused by COVID

SOUTHWEST MIAMI DADE, Fla. – An 8-year-old Florida keys boy never showed any symptoms of COVID-19, according to his mother, but now he is in Miami at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital fighting for his life. His family is distraught, but they aren’t giving up hope.

Doctors say Zane Wampler of Tavernier has multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), an illness associated with having COVID-19.

It is a serious condition that takes a toll on parts of the body like blood vessels and the heart.

“What we do know is that it affects children usually a week or two after they are exposed or after they’ve had the COVID infection,” Dr. Keith Meyer of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “Most children will present with gastrointestinal manifestations. They can have diarrhea, they can have abdominal pain.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers do not know what causes MIS-C. It is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

His mother, Leah, said it started last week when Zane became violently ill. “He woke up and he had a high fever.” She said he was also nauseous. “I gave him some Tylenol, and an hour later (his fever) spiked up to 105.1 F. I took him to the hospital and they ended up sending us home,” she said.

After days of no improvement, convulsions, and delusions, Wampler said the family then rushed Zane to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

“He was convulsing. We had to put washcloths all over his body. He started swelling everywhere and it looked like he had two black eyes,” Wampler said.

Zane tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, but his mother said that no one in the family had been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

"He was asymptomatic," said Leah.

The CDC reports that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. According to the CDC, MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who are diagnosed with the condition get better with medical care.

At one point, Zane needed to be hooked up to a ventilator and he has been on and off of oxygen. Her son is improving, but he’s not out of the woods yet.

“In the beginning of this, they said it wouldn’t affect children. We are in this big conversation about schools and stuff right now. It’s very real. ”

In Miami-Dade, 301 cases of COVID-19 cases and 218 cases of COVID-19 cases in Broward county were counted in patients 18 and younger on Friday.

Doctors at Nicklaus Children's Hospital said it is very common for kids to have COVID-19, but to not have any symptoms at all.

When you should seek emergency care

According to the CDC, seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe abdominal pain

Find out more about MIS-C and how to spot it.

(Local 10.com’s Michelle Solomon contributed to this story.)

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.