Kawasaki Disease

By Dr. Ben Lynch
Updated 2024-03-06 17:24:04 | Published 2023-04-14 18:38:06
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    • Explore the Diseases category on iMedix for comprehensive insights into various health conditions. This section offers detailed information on symptoms, causes, treatments, and preventive measures, providing a valuable resource for understanding and managing health challenges.

An abstract illustration of Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is a rare illness that primarily affects children under the age of 5. It is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body. The exact cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune response triggered by an infection, possibly a virus.

Kawasaki disease

What is Kawasaki Disease?

Kawasaki Disease is a rare but serious inflammatory disease that affects children, causing inflammation in the walls of some blood vessels in the body, most often those around the heart. It's not clear what triggers the disease, but it's not contagious.

What are the symptoms of Kawasaki Disease?

Symptoms include high fever lasting more than five days, rash, swollen glands in the neck, dry or cracked lips, red fingers or toes, and red eyes. These symptoms appear in phases, and early treatment is crucial.

How is Kawasaki Disease diagnosed?

Diagnosis is primarily based on symptoms, as there is no specific test for Kawasaki Disease. Doctors often rule out other diseases with similar symptoms. Echocardiography may be used to examine heart complications.

How is Kawasaki Disease treated?

Treatment usually involves high doses of aspirin and intravenous gamma globulin. Early treatment is essential to reduce the risk of serious complications.

Can Kawasaki Disease lead to complications?

Yes, if untreated, it can lead to serious complications like coronary artery aneurysms, heart valve problems, and heart muscle inflammation. Timely treatment significantly reduces these risks.

Is Kawasaki Disease contagious?

No, Kawasaki Disease is not contagious. The exact cause is unknown, but it is not spread from person to person.

Can Kawasaki Disease reoccur?

Recurrence is rare but possible. It occurs in about 3% of cases. Children who have had Kawasaki Disease should have regular follow-up heart evaluations, especially in the first year after the illness.

Common symptoms of Kawasaki disease include high fever lasting more than five days, swollen lymph nodes, red eyes, rash, and swollen hands and feet. In severe cases, it can lead to complications such as coronary artery aneurysms, which may cause long-term heart problems.

The diagnosis of Kawasaki disease is based on a combination of clinical signs and symptoms. There is no specific test for the disease, so doctors usually rely on a thorough physical examination, medical history, and ruling out other possible causes.

Treatment for Kawasaki disease often involves hospitalization and administration of high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and aspirin. IVIG helps reduce the risk of coronary artery complications, while aspirin helps relieve fever and inflammation. With prompt treatment, most children recover fully within a few weeks.

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It is important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of Kawasaki disease and seek immediate medical attention if they suspect their child might be affected. Early diagnosis and treatment greatly improve the outcomes and reduce the risk of long-term complications.

Kawasaki Disease

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Peeling skin on the hands and feet
  • Joint pain
  • Irritability
  • Extreme tiredness

Kawasaki Disease:

Exact Causes of Kawasaki Disease are still unknown, but several factors are believed to play a role:

1. Viral or bacterial infection: Kawasaki Disease is often triggered by an initial infection, although the specific pathogen is yet to be identified.

2. Genetic predisposition: Certain genetic factors may make individuals more susceptible to developing Kawasaki Disease.

3. Abnormal immune response: It is thought that an abnormal immune response to the initial infection contributes to the development of Kawasaki Disease and its symptoms.

4. Environmental factors: Some studies suggest that environmental factors, such as exposure to certain toxins or chemicals, may increase the risk of Kawasaki Disease.

5. Age and gender: Kawasaki Disease primarily affects children under the age of 5, with a slightly higher incidence in boys than girls.

6. Ethnicity: Kawasaki Disease is more common in individuals of Asian descent, particularly those of Japanese or Korean ancestry.

Kawasaki Disease is a childhood illness that primarily affects children under the age of five. It is characterized by inflammation in the blood vessels throughout the body, especially in the coronary arteries (the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart).

To diagnose Kawasaki Disease, doctors may rely on a combination of clinical criteria, physical examination, and laboratory tests.

1. Clinical Criteria:
The diagnosis of Kawasaki Disease is based on the presence of several clinical criteria, including:

– Fever lasting for five or more days which is unresponsive to treatment.
– Redness and swelling in the eyes (conjunctivitis) without discharge.
– Red and cracked lips, a strawberry-like tongue, or a bright red rash on the body.
– Swollen hands and feet, or peeling of the skin on the hands and feet.
– Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

2. Physical Examination:
During a physical examination, the doctor may look for signs of Kawasaki Disease, such as:

– Checking the presence of a fever.
– Examining the eyes for conjunctivitis or redness.
– Inspecting the mouth and throat for changes.
– Assessing the skin for rashes or peeling.
– Checking the lymph nodes for enlargement.

3. Laboratory Tests:
Laboratory tests play a crucial role in diagnosing Kawasaki Disease. Common tests include:

– Complete Blood Count (CBC): This test helps detect abnormalities in the white blood cell count, red blood cell count, and platelet count.
– Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR): ESR measures the rate at which red blood cells settle in a tube, which can indicate the presence of inflammation in the body.
– C-Reactive Protein (CRP): CRP is an inflammatory marker that can be elevated in Kawasaki Disease.
– Urine Tests: Urinalysis can reveal the presence of white blood cells and protein in the urine, which may suggest kidney involvement.

Additionally, doctors may consider performing an echocardiogram to assess the heart and look for any abnormalities in the coronary arteries.

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