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Kawasaki Disease

What is Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease is an uncommon but important cause of fever in children. It most often occurs in children 6 months to 5 years of age. Kawasaki disease is an inflammation of the blood vessels. The most important blood vessels that can be involved are those of the heart, including the coronary arteries. Kawasaki disease has become the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children. Fortunately, treatment is usually effective in preventing heart disease.

What causes Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease is not spread by person-to-person contact. The cause is unknown, though more cases occur in late winter and early spring.

What are symptoms of Kawasaki disease?

Symptoms of Kawasaki disease can include:

  • Fever lasting for at least 5 days
  • Irritability
  • Red eyes without discharge
  • Redness or cracking of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • Swelling and/or redness, and/or peeling of the skin, usually beginning around the nails
  • Rash mostly on the trunk, but sometimes elsewhere
  • Swollen neck lymph node(s)

When should a child be hospitalized for Kawasaki disease?

The reasons for admission vary, but often a child who is being evaluated for Kawasaki disease is often evaluated in the hospital.

What diagnostic tests will my child undergo?

The diagnosis is mostly based on symptoms, but other tests -- such as a blood test and an echocardiogram -- are usually ordered to help confirm the diagnosis. It is most important that other causes of fever be ruled out before the diagnosis of Kawasaki disease is made.

What treatments/management approaches will be considered to care for my child?

  • IV for medications including a medication called IVIG or immunoglobulins
  • IV for fluids
  • Medications for pain, swelling; also aspirin
  • Cold compresses

When will my child be ready for discharge?

Your child will be ready for discharge when he/she:

  • Is drinking fluids
  • Is tolerating oral medicines (aspirin)
  • Is no longer having a fever

What will be the follow-up for my child after discharge?

  • Follow-up will be with your primary health care provider or with an infectious disease doctor within 5 to 7 days of discharge. Together with the cardiologist, your child will be followed closely until there is no longer any need for further therapy.
  • Follow-up echocardiograms will be ordered by cardiology after discharge.

When should you call your health care provider?

Call your health care provider if your child has:

  • A recurrence of fever
  • Any return in previous symptoms that are worsening

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 12/15/2009…#13457