What is Kawasaki Disease (KD)?

Kawasaki disease (KD) is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children.  It is also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome because it affects lymph nodes, skin, and the mucous membranes inside the mouth, nose and throat.

KD is a rare illness that mostly affects kids under age 5, causing inflammation in the walls of medium-sized arteries throughout the body, including the coronary arteries.

The cause is unknown, but if the symptoms are recognized early and treatment is administered within 10 days of fever, kids with KD can fully recover within a few days. Untreated or delayed treatment of KD can lead to serious complications that can affect the heart.

 Symptoms of Kawasaki disease include: 

  • fever that lasts at least 5 days
  • severe redness in the eyes
  • rash on the stomach, chest, and genitals
  • swollen, red, dry, cracked lips
  • swollen tongue with a white coating and big red bumps (called “strawberry tongue”)
  • swollen palms of the hands and soles of the feet
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • A child may also have joint pain, abdominal pain, sore throat, diarrhea and or vomiting.

Approximately 2 weeks after the onset of fever, the skin on the hands and feet may begin to peel in large pieces. This can even happen in children who have already been treated.

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Kawasaki Disease Brochure, from kdfoundation.org

Source Information:

Jamie L. Clute, MD http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/heart/kawasaki.html

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