Paediatrics (children's doctor)

Kawasaki Disease

Introduction to Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is an uncommon condition that occurs in young children, commonly aged 18-24 months.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is Kawasaki Disease?

Kawasaki disease is an uncommon condition that occurs in young children, commonly aged 18-24 months. It is not a contagious disease.

What causes Kawasaki Disease?

The cause is unknown. It is not a contagious disease, which means it is unlikely to be a bacterial or viral infection. There does seem to be a genetic link that can increase the risk of developing the condition.

What are the symptoms of Kawasaki Disease?

A high temperature that usually lasts over 5 days is common. Symptoms of fever tend to last up to 10 days before getting better. Other symptoms might include: red eyes (conjunctivitis), red throat or tongue, dry lips, blotchy red rash, swelling or redness in the hands or feet and swollen lymph glands. Other less common symptoms include: diarrhoea, vomiting, tummy pain, joint swelling and yellow skin. There is no test to confirm the disease, however tests may be done to rule out other diseases that cause similar symptoms. A possible complication of Kawasaki disease is a heart problem caused by inflammation to the blood vessels supplying the heart (coronary arteries). This can cause swelling in that section of the artery (aneurysm). This usually goes away over time, however sometimes this can cause serious complications.

How is Kawasaki Disease treated?

Aspirin is given to children to help reduce the inflammation in the coronary arteries and prevent blood from clotting. Immunoglobulin can be given as a slow injection over a few hours. Immunoglobulin is an antibody that modifies the response of the immune system to prevent inflammation in the arteries. Other treatments can be used to make the child feel comfortable, such as paracetamol and drinking lots of fluid. With early treatment it is much less likely that complications develop.

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