What Is Kawasaki Disease?
Kawasaki (KAH-wah-SAH-ke) disease is a rare
childhood disease. It's a form of a disease called
In Kawasaki disease, the walls of the blood vessels
throughout the body become inflamed. The disease can affect any type of blood
vessel in the body, including the arteries, veins, and capillaries.
In some cases, Kawasaki disease affects the coronary
arteries, which carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart. As a result, a small
number of children who have Kawasaki disease may develop serious heart
The cause of Kawasaki disease isn't known. The
body's response to a virus or infection combined with genetic factors may cause
the disease. However, no specific virus or infection has been found, and the
role of genetics isn't known.
The disease can't be passed from one child to
another. Your child won't get it from close contact with a child who has the
disease. Also, if your child has the disease, he or she can't pass it on to
Kawasaki disease affects children of all races and
both genders. It occurs most often in children of Asian and Pacific Island
descent. It's more likely to affect males, and most cases occur in children
younger than 5 years.
One of the main symptoms of this disease is a fever
that lasts longer than 5 days. The fever remains high even after treatment with
standard childhood fever medicines. Children with the disease also may have red
eyes, red lips, and redness on the palms of their hands and soles of their
feet. These are all signs of inflamed blood vessels.
Early treatment is important. It helps reduce the
risk that Kawasaki disease will affect the coronary arteries and cause more
Kawasaki disease can't be prevented. However, most
children who develop Kawasaki disease fully recoverusually within weeks
of getting symptoms. Further problems are rare.
In some children, the disease affects the coronary
arteries. This can cause serious problems. These children need long-term care
Researchers continue to look for the cause of
Kawasaki disease and better ways to diagnose and treat it. They also hope to
learn more about long-term health risks, if any, for people who have had the