Kawasaki Disease - Topic Overview
What is Kawasaki disease?
Kawasaki disease is a
rare childhood illness that affects the blood vessels. The symptoms can be
severe for several days and can look scary to parents. But then most children return to normal activities.
Kawasaki disease can harm the
coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart muscle.
Most children who are treated recover from the disease without long-term
problems. Your doctor will watch your child for heart problems for a few weeks
to a few months after treatment.
The disease is most common in
children ages 1 to 2 years and is less common in children older than age 8. It
does not spread from child to child (is not contagious).
What causes Kawasaki disease?
Experts don't know
what causes the disease. The disease happens most often in the late winter and early
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Kawasaki
fever lasting at least 5 days.
- A body rash.
- Swollen, red, cracked lips and tongue.
- Swollen, red feet and hands.
lymph nodes in the neck.
Get medical help right away if
your child has symptoms of Kawasaki disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can
often prevent future heart problems.
How is Kawasaki disease diagnosed?
disease can be hard to diagnose, because there is not a test for it. Your doctor
may diagnose Kawasaki disease if both of these things are true:
- Your child has a fever that lasts at least 5
- Your child has a few of the other five symptoms listed above.
Your child may also have routine lab tests. And the doctor may order an echocardiogram to check for heart problems.
After your child gets better, he or she will need checkups
to watch for heart problems.