Kawasaki disease is an inflammation (swelling) in the walls of the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
With treatment, most children treated for Kawasaki disease recover completely. If this disease is not treated, it can cause many serious problems including:
Kawasaki disease is rare. It usually affects children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.
Another name for this disease is mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome.
The cause of this disease is not known. Some possible causes may be:
This disease does not appear to spread from person to person. Since it is rare for more than one child in the same family to get Kawasaki disease, it does not appear to be inherited.
Symptoms may include:
Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. If your child has had a fever for many days and also has 4 or 5 of the other symptoms listed above, your provider will probably diagnose your child with Kawasaki disease. A diagnosis called atypical Kawasaki syndrome may be made if your child has a fever and fewer than 4 of the symptoms.
Tests may include:
At first, your child will need to stay in the hospital. If the disease is diagnosed and treated early, the complications of Kawasaki disease can usually be prevented. Your child will get antibodies called gamma globulin through a vein (IV). This treatment greatly lowers the risk of heart problems, especially coronary artery aneurysms.
If your child has a coronary artery aneurysm, your child will need to start some long-term treatments. This includes taking aspirin to prevent blood clotting. Your child will need to be seen regularly by a pediatric heart specialist (cardiologist).
If your child is taking aspirin, your child will be at risk for a serious illness called Reye's syndrome if he or she gets the flu or chickenpox. The chickenpox shot and yearly flu shots can help protect your child against this illness.
As your child gets better, tests should show that the inflammation is going away.
It’s very rare for a child to get Kawasaki disease more than once.
Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.