Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki disease is a severe, noncontagious childhood illness that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. Although a specific cause has not yet been identified, the disease is likely related to a virus or bacteria.

Symptoms of Kawasaki disease include a fever for more than 5 days, red eyes, swollen red lips and tongue, a rash, swollen feet and hands, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Without treatment, the illness usually lasts several weeks, and most children have no long-term problems. Infants and children whose fever lasts more than 10 days are more likely to have complications related to blood vessel damage, usually in the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries). In rare cases, the damage can lead to a heart attack. Early diagnosis and treatment decreases the length of the illness and can prevent most blood vessel and heart damage.

Last Updated: December 23, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Stanford T. Shulman, MD - Pediatrics

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