Kawasaki disease is an illness that causes blood vessels to become inflamed, almost always in young children. It’s one of the leading causes of heart disease in kids. The inflammation tends to affect the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle.
Kawasaki disease is sometimes called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome because it also affects glands that swell during an infection (lymph nodes), skin, and the mucous membranes inside the mouth, nose and throat.
Signs and symptoms of Kawasaki Disease
The characteristic symptoms are a high temperature that lasts for 5 days or more, with:
- A rash
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Dry, cracked lips
- Red fingers or toes
- Red eyes
After a few weeks, and with the correct treatment, the symptoms become less severe, but it can take longer than this in some children.
There’s no specific test available to diagnose Kawasaki disease. Diagnosis involves ruling out other diseases that cause similar signs and symptoms, including:
- Scarlet fever, which is caused by streptococcal bacteria and results in fever, rash, chills and sore throat
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- stevens-Johnson syndrome, a disorder of the mucous membranes
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Certain tick-borne illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever
The doctor will do physical examination and order blood and tests to help in the diagnosis. Tests may include;
- Blood tests
Kawasaki disease is always treated in the hospital. It’s best if treatment begins as soon as possible. The sooner the treatment starts, the quicker the recovery time and there’s less risk of complications developing.
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a solution of antibodies, and aspirin are the 2 main medicines used to treat Kawasaki disease.
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