Kawasaki disease (KD), is an inflammatory vascular disease of unknown origin which occurs predominantly in children and can affect the heart vessels. It is more likely to appear in boys than girls and was described for the first time in children of Asian descent by a Japanese pediatrician (Tomisaku Kawasaki, 1967). However, this disease does not exclude any other ethnicity. Kawasaki disease is a leading cause of acquired heart disease in children, but with effective treatment, only a small percentage of children will be left with permanent damage. KD is also called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome because it also affects lymph nodes, skin, and the mucous membranes inside the mouth, nose, and throat.
Kawasaki disease is easy to treat, requiring no more than a few doses of Immunoglobulin or Aspirin and close monitoring. Therefore, the onset of KD symptoms should quickly alert the parent to seek a physician’s advice. Kawasaki disease has three phases. Most signs and symptoms appear during the initial acute febrile phase, which lasts from 1 to 2 weeks. This is followed by a subacute phase which lasts from the end of the fever until approximately day 25. Finally, during the convalescent phase, the clinical signs disappear, and biological tests return to normal. The average duration of Kawasaki disease is 6–8 weeks. The ten most common symptoms are the following:
Although fever is a common symptom in children, Kawasaki disease induced fever is slightly different. It is a spiking fever often higher than 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius), and it lasts for 5 or more days in most cases. Inflammation of the entire body comes as one of the most natural responses of a young immune system, as it still has no actual way of fighting the disease. KD is not contagious and very rarely affects adults based on current available data, possibly because their immune system is much more robust.