Kawasaki disease (mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome) mostly strikes babies and children under the age of five. It initially presents as a high fever that lasts for five days or more AND involves at least three of the following five symptoms: swollen glands, an angry rash, red swollen hands and feet, dry cracked lips/strawberry tongue, and bloodshot/infected eyes. In many cases, this disease causes serious and irreparable damage to the heart (usually in the form of aneurysms caused by inflammation in coronary arteries). Since Kawasaki disease symptoms are commonly seen in other general infections – including influenza and bacterial meningitis – misdiagnosis is tragically commonplace among parents and GPs.
Kawasaki disease is now recognised as the leading cause of coronary heart disease in children with effects that may be permanent for those who survive into adult life. It is the prime suspect in death by non-congenital heart failure among children and young adults. There has been a relentless increase of Kawasaki disease-related hospital admissions (from 507 in 2015/16 to 628 in 2017/18 - of which two-thirds were emergencies) in England and Wales, not to mention the undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and adult statistics. In addition, there is some evidence of an up to a 10 per cent chance that susceptibility to Kawasaki disease is hereditary.
Although there is no evidence that sufferers are contagious during its active phase, it is possible that Kawasaki disease is airborne. If its victims survive their childhood, those worst affected and undiagnosed continue to have myocardial and vascular complications as adults. The number of Kawasaki disease victims later diagnosed has increased by 1,400 since 2009: and reported cases of Kawasaki disease probably represent just the tip of the iceberg.
Signs and symptoms include:
More information about Kawasaki Disease UK
Kawasaki Disease UK aims to help parents self-diagnose and identify the classic symptoms by day five, before the
critical phase of heart damage 11-13 days of the onset and aid recovery with treatment that prevents cardiac arrest in a young life.
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Dee Izmail - Founder of Kawasaki Fund
KAWASAKI FUND REG. CHARITY NO.: 1064518
KAWASAKI DISEASE UK LTD. REG. NO.: 11375141
Rare Revolution Editor