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Viral Infections in Childhood: Kawasaki Syndrome

Definition

Kawasaki syndrome is a serious rash illness of children. It is a relatively rare disease and occurs most often in infants and children under the age of five.
Little is known about the way a person gets this syndrome or how it spreads. It does not appear to be transmitted from person to person. Since outbreaks occur, it may be caused by an infectious agent.

Symptoms and Signs

Most cases have a high spiking fever which rises and falls but is usually above 39 C (102.2 F), that does not respond to antibiotics. The fever lasts more than 5 days and is associated with irritability, swollen lymph nodes, red eyes, lips, throat and tongue. The rash may cover the entire body and is sometimes followed by a peeling of the skin on the hands and fingers.
The most frequent complication is coronary artery aneurysms (ballooning out of vessels in the heart). Other organs may be involved as well (e.g. meningitis , joint inflammation , and gallbladder inflammation). Approximately 1-2 % of cases die of the disease and its complications.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Most patients are treated in the hospital where they can be closely watched. Aspirin (although there is a risk of Reye's syndrome ) and immunoglobulins are often prescribed.

At the present time, preventive measures are unknown.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. New York State Department of Health Communicable Disease Fact Sheet: http://www.health.state.ny.us/


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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/child_virus/virus_kawasaki.html Last modified: Oct 20 2004