Kawasaki disease (KD) is a serious illness that affects hundreds of Australian children each year and many thousands worldwide.
The most serious complication of Kawasaki Disease is damage to the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. If untreated, up to a quarter of children with KD develop coronary artery dilation which can damage the coronary arteries and put them at risk of heart disease. KD is a heart disease acquired during childhood.
If the symptoms and signs of KD are recognised early and treatment with IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin) administered, most children with KD usually make a full recovery and coronary artery complications are prevented or minimised.
Early symptoms of Kawasaki disease (KD) include;
- Fever that can last for several days
- Rash, can be over whole body and may be worse in the groin area
- Red eyes – without discharge
- Bright red, swollen, or cracked lips
- Red tongue (strawberry like)
- Swollen hands and feet
- Redness of the palms and soles
- Swollen lymph node in the neck
Children with KD are often very irritable. KD primarily affects young children and approximately 75 percent of patients are under five years of age. Older children and more rarely teenagers can also get KD. It is more common in boys than girls. There is no specific test for KD; doctors make a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms, physical findings and laboratory tests. The cause of KD is unknown. It is thought that an infection may trigger the condition, but KD is not contagious.