What Triggers Kawasaki Disease & What’s The Recurrence Rate?

Kawasaki disease (KD) is also called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome. It is an illness characterized by the inflammation in arteries, veins, and capillaries. It also affects your lymph nodes and causes symptoms in your nose, mouth, and throat. It is one of the most common causes of heart disease in children.

In children suffering from Kawasaki disease, lymph nodes are affected. In the United States, more than 4,200 children are affected each year. Asian and Pacific Island descendants are at increased risk of kawasaki disease. Japan has the highest number of kawasaki disease although the disease can be seen affecting children across the globe. Boys are more affected than girls. kawasaki disease can be treated without any complications. The symptoms should be immediately attended, if left untreated it can produce serious heart disease. There are little to no chances of recurrence. Children are given antibodies (intravenous immunoglobulin) and aspirin. As the tissues are inflamed, aspirin is given to prevent the creation of blood clots and heart failure; the treatment will last up to 8 weeks for complete recovery. Addition of corticosteroids such as prednisolone has been found to be effective in reducing inflammation. It is not advised not to start treatment of kawasaki disease before the 5th day of fever as the chances of developing resistance during this time are high. The duration of treatment depends upon the child’s response towards medicines, to reverse coronary artery abnormalities.

What Triggers Kawasaki Disease?

The exact cause of kawasaki disease is not known. Climate and environmental conditions seem to be responsible for kawasaki disease. Seasonal changes seem to be trigger factor as there will be an increased incidence in certain weather. Bacteria and viruses along with genetic factors can be responsible for kawasaki disease. (1)

The disease is not contagious and does not spread through direct or indirect contact. It will not spread from one child to another. The exact cause for kawasaki disease is not known. but genetics and environmental factors are known to play an important role. People living in a definite climatic condition such as Asian and Pacific Island are at increased which indicate the role of climate in kawasaki disease. Japan has the highest incidence of kawasaki disease in the world. It happens in children who are younger than 5 years of age.

The role of inheritance in kawasaki disease is not clear, but there are chances that siblings who had KD are 10 times at increased risk which indicate genetic predisposition. There are various theories which indicate the role of Microbes (bacteria or virus) in kawasaki disease. Boys are more affected than girls.

The antiplatelet drug, aspirin should be administered until the echocardiograph becomes normal which takes up to 8 weeks. If left untreated, kawasaki disease can result in serious complications and increase the risk of heart attack. The possible complications include inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), abnormal heart rhythm (dysrhythmia) and aneurysm. Children with a complicated form of kawasaki disease are required to go through invasive procedures such as coronary angioplasty, coronary artery stenting. In the future, these children are required to consider their lifestyle with the risk of developing a heart attack. They should maintain a healthy weight, have normal blood cholesterol levels and do not smoke.

What Is The Recurrence Rate?

The recurrence of kawasaki disease is only 3%. Early diagnosis and treatment can help in complete recovery without any heart complication. In a few cases children, many get coronary artery problems. Such patients can be treated within 1 year if treatment. Highly complicated cases may develop chronic heart problems and requires careful monitoring for longtime until complete recovery and normal echocardiography. Children once diagnosed with kawasaki disease are required to under echocardiogram annually to identify the heart problem.

In most cases, children will recover within a few days of treatment without any serious problems. Recurrences are uncommon. If left untreated it can lead to serious heart diseases. Read on to learn more about kawasaki disease and how to treat this condition.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3826559/

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