Kawasaki Disease

(Kawasaki Syndrome; Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome)

Definition

Kawasaki disease is an illness that affects young children. It causes irritation and swelling of the skin, mouth, and lymph nodes. More serious illness can also lead to swelling in the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen to the heart. The swelling can cause serious heart problems like a weakening of blood vessel walls ( aneurysm ) and heart attack.
Coronary Arteries
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Causes

The cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown. Some believe it is an infectious agent like a virus. However, Kawasaki does not seem to be contagious. It does not spread through households like the flu.

Risk Factors

Kawasaki disease is most common in children less than five year old. It is rare in adults. Children of Asian ethnicity also seem to be more likely to get Kawasaki disease.Outbreaks of the disease are more common during the winter and early spring months.

Symptoms

Early symptoms in the first 2 weeks may include:
  • High fever—lasting for at least 5 days and usually greater than 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.8 degrees Celsius)
  • Irritability
  • Red or bloodshot whites of the eyes due to conjunctivitis
  • Rash
  • Soreness and swelling of the mouth, lips, and throat
  • Strawberry tongue—white/yellow coating and bright red bumps on tongue
  • Swollen hands and feet that may look red
  • Swollen lymph nodes (organs of the immune system) in the neck
Later symptoms (within 2 weeks of the start of the fever) may include:
  • Peeling of skin on hands and feet
  • Joint problems
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain

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