What is Kawasaki Disease?
Identified in 1967 in Japan by Tomisaku Kawasaki, the cause of Kawasaki Disease is still unknown. The illness presents with several symptoms common to a variety of other childhood diseases and infections and is therefore often misdiagnosed. Kawasaki Disease is a serious disease which if untreated can cause coronary artery damage.
Kawasaki Disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the UK.
Symptoms of this “Red” Disease
Kawasaki Disease is a type of vasculitis. It mainly affects young children but it can affect people of any age – and its impact can be most serious in the very young, particularly infants. It is a serious illness as it can cause coronary artery damage – damage to the blood vessels in the heart, and can lead to acquired heart disease in children. Kawasaki Disease has a range of symptoms including a characteristic and distinctively persistent high fever for five days or more, rash, bloodshot eyes, “strawberry” tongue, cracked, dry lips, redness of the fingers and toes and swollen glands in the neck. Kawasaki Disease can be present with some or all of these symptoms and symptoms often appear in series (i.e. not all at once). Incomplete Kawasaki Disease can be diagnosed with persistent fever plus two or more clinical features. Kawasaki Disease should always be considered in any child with unexplained persistent fever.
Professor R Tulloh, Professor of Congenital Cardiology, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and Societi Trustee
Children affected by Kawasaki Disease have much improved chances of a good recovery with timely diagnosis and the correct treatment.