Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease (KD), also known as Kawasaki syndrome, lymph node syndrome and mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, is an autoimmune disease in which the medium-sized blood vessels throughout the body become inflamed. It is largely seen in children under five years of age. It affects many organ systems, mainly those including the blood vessels, skin, mucous membranes and lymph nodes; however, its rare but most serious effect is on the heart where it can cause fatal coronary artery aneurysms in untreated children. Without treatment, mortality may approach 1%, usually within six weeks of onset. With treatment, the mortality rate is less than 0.01% in the U.S. There is often a pre-existing viral infection that may play a role in its pathogenesis. The conjunctivae and oral mucosa, along with the epidermis (skin), become erythematous (red and inflamed). Edema is often seen in the hands and feet and one or both of the cervical lymph nodes are often enlarged. Also, a remittent fever, often 40°C (104°F) or higher, is characteristic of the acute phase of the disease. In untreated children, the febrile period lasts on average approximately 10 days, but may range from five to 25 days. The disorder was first described in 1967 by Tomisaku Kawasaki in Japan.

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