Kawasaki disease (KD) or mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome is commonly seen in children below 5 years of age. The symptoms can be seen in the mouth, throat and nose. Strawberry mouth is the symptom of Kawasaki disease. In this disease, there is inflammation in arteries, veins, and capillaries. Kawasaki disease occurs mostly in two stages early and later. The early symptoms will last for up to two weeks which include running temperature, rash on the torso, bloodshot eyes, strawberry tongue, swollen feet and hands, red soles & palms to name a few. These symptoms if left untreated move to the second stage of the disease whose symptoms include peeling of skin, temporary hearing loss, enlarged gallbladder, temporary arthritis, or joint pain. If an infant or child below 5 years of age has a fever for more than 5 days with above-mentioned symptoms then the child should be checked for the test indicating the heart function and inflammation. Peeling skin is the characteristic feature of Kawasaki disease.
All of these signs may not be present in each child. Especially kids who are months old or older than 5 years will not be able to show complete symptoms and are at increased risk of developing coronary disease complications.
How Many People Have Died From Kawasaki Disease?
The occurrence of disease is during winter or early spring and in Asian countries, it is seen in the summer season. The disease cannot be prevented but there is a complete recovery. Less than 1% of Children suffering from Kawasaki die. The main complication is aneurysms in the coronary arteries. More than 75% of the children affected with Kawasaki disease are less than 5 years of age. (1)
Japan holds the first position for the incidence of Kawasaki disease. There are 218.6 per 100,000 children. At least 1 in every 150 children are affected with Kawasaki disease in their lifetime.
In the United States, the incidence of Kawasaki disease was approx. 14 diagnoses per 100,000 in a year.
In the United Kingdom, the incidence of Kawasaki disease has increased. As per census, there were 8 Kawasaki disease diagnoses per 100,000 in the year 2000.
The disease can also be seen in Caucasians
The symptoms of Kawasaki disease are similar to other diseases such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, toxic shock syndrome, measles, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, scarlet fever, etc. The doctor may advise tests such as Echocardiograph, blood tests, electrocardiogram or Chest X-ray to identify any damage to the heart.
An echocardiograph maybe repeated a couple of times to identify the effect of Kawasaki disease on the heart. There will be increase in white blood cell count due to inflammation and low red blood cell count. The X-rays also provide important information about heart failure and the inflammation of heart tissues. An affected heart will have altered electrical activity and irregularities in ECG shows that the child is affected by Kawasaki disease.
One in 4 children with Kawasaki disease has a heart problem. As there is damage to the heart muscles and the blood vessels that supply heart muscles. Coronary arteries supply blood to heart muscles and they are the most affected blood vessels. In certain cases, patients (less than 1 %) can have an aneurysm (enlargement or swelling of the blood vessel wall).
Kawasaki is a disease which affects children mostly under the age of 5. Country wise stats for children affected with Kawasaki disease can range anywhere from 8 to 67, with Japan having the highest incidence of 124 cases per 100,000. Most cases of Kawasaki disease recover completely after prompt treatment. 25% of the patients develop coronary artery disease and only 1% of such patients face death. The risk of death decreases to less than 0.1% in the treated group.
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