Kawasaki Disease is increasingly common. EXPECT to see it. Be READY to treat it.

On International Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day 2019, Societi Foundation calls for awareness and action to combat this, the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children.


  • Doctors need to EXPECT to see and be READY to treat Kawasaki Disease
  • Kawasaki Disease is increasingly common, more common than some forms of bacterial meningitis and seen more often than measles1
  • UK treatment times are too slow. Lack of awareness of Kawasaki Disease delays diagnosis and treatment, significantly increasing risk of heart damage
  • In the UK & Ireland, research shows 39% of infants with Kawasaki Disease develop coronary artery aneurysms. This is too high!
  • Kawasaki Disease is the #1 cause of acquired heart disease in UK children

Children’s hearts at risk

In the UK today, children’s risk of heart damage from Kawasaki Disease is among the highest in the world. Experts have linked these high levels of heart damage to lack of awareness amongst clinicians and the general public. Studies show children treated after 7 days from disease onset are at significantly increasing risk of serious heart damage1. If diagnosed and treated early the risk of heart damage is reduced.

Kawasaki Disease is a medical emergency

Dr Jacqueline Cornish OBE, NHS England Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Transition to Adulthood said “Kawasaki Disease incidence is rising globally. We must now make a conscious change and expect to see Kawasaki Disease and be ready to treat it. We urgently need greater understanding of the seriousness of the impact of Kawasaki Disease when treatment is delayed.”

 A shocking 39% of infants (babies under one) affected by Kawasaki Disease have serious heart damage – and up to 20% of all children develop coronary artery aneurysms. These children need specialist care – for life2.

Significantly increasing risk

Professor Robert Tulloh, leading Paediatric Cardiologist and specialist in Kawasaki Disease said “Serious heart damage is a proven risk for children who are treated late and we know this risk significantly increases with any delay beyond 5 days from the start of fever. We must immediately abandon the outdated idea that treatment at 10 days is acceptable – our response to this disease has to urgently change.”

RCPCH President Professor Russell Viner said “As Kawasaki Disease is a growing problem with potentially fatal consequences, it is an area that our members take seriously. We know that early diagnosis is key, and so we are looking at ways to improve education and raise awareness so that our members can identify and treat cases as swiftly as possible.”

Families fighting Kawasaki Disease – let’s get it known!

Rachael McCormack, Founder of Societi said “Kawasaki Disease is a medical emergency. Too many families have experienced the devastating impact of this serious disease – and to highlight the consequences of a delay in diagnosis, on Awareness Day, the Page Family have shared their inspirational journey with Kawasaki Disease. Please watch our film https://youtu.be/Z0zgDeZrWL4 and hear just how serious this disease can be. And then please, let’s work together to get Kawasaki Disease known – for all our children.”

Read the full media release here!