Kawasaki disease


Kawasaki disease is a rare form of blood vessels inflammation (vasculitis) in children. Inflammation within the walls of small to medium-sized blood vessels responsible for transporting blood throughout the body can result in these vessels becoming vulnerable to weakening and expansion. This increased vulnerability may lead to the risk of vessel tearing or narrowing. It impacts all of the body’s arteries, but the primary focus of concern lies with the coronary arteries, which are responsible for providing blood to the heart. This may result in heart problems among children.

Kawasaki disease in children can cause high fevers, swollen hands and feet with peeling skin, as well as red eyes and tongues. It was also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome due to its ability to induce inflammation in both lymph nodes and the mucous membranes found in the mouth, nose, eyes, and throat.

Kawasaki disease happens most often in children 6 months to 5 years of age. Most children recover without serious complications in about two months if treated within 10 days of the start of the disease. Medications are often used to treat Kawasaki disease.


Symptoms of the Kawasaki disease may not manifest at the same time. A child typically needs a fever for five or more days and at least four of the following symptoms to be diagnosed with Kawasaki disease.

Symptoms of Kawasaki disease include:

  • A rash occurring on the main part of the body or within the genital area
  • Swollen lymph node in the neck
  • Eyes that are red or pink with no significant discharge
  • Lips that are red, dry, and cracked, along with a notably swollen, red tongue.
  • Skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet exhibiting pronounced redness and swelling, followed by subsequent peeling of the skin on the fingers and toes.

Some cases of Kawasaki may include these signs and symptoms:

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Aching joints

Incomplete Kawasaki disease may occur if a child had a high fever for five or more days but fewer than four of the other signs and symptoms. Children with incomplete Kawasaki disease is still required of treatment within 10 days of the onset of symptoms because they still run the risk of suffering from coronary artery damage.

Children who exhibit these symptoms may also undergo COVID-19 testing, as Kawasaki disease can present similar symptoms to the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children with COVID-19 worldwide.

If the child experiences a recurrent fever, severe joint pain, or worsening of previous symptoms, contact a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

If Kawasaki disease is treated within 10 days of the onset, there may be a significant reduction in the possibility of long-term damage to the coronary arteries feeding the heart muscle. Complications impacting the heart can reach a severity level that may result in fatality between 15 and 45 days after the onset of a fever.


The precise cause of Kawasaki disease remains elusive. Scientists are actively exploring potential factors that might play a role in the development of Kawasaki disease, including infections, environmental factors, and genetic influences. Some hypotheses suggest that Kawasaki disease may arise from a combination of environmental factors or develop in the wake of a bacterial or viral infection.

Risk factors

Several factors may contribute to one’s risk of acquiring Kawasaki disease. More cases also happen in late winter and early spring in North America. The risk factors include:

  • Age: The risk of acquiring Kawasaki disease is higher among kids under 5 years old.
  • Sex: Kawasaki disease is more likely to affect boys than girls.
  • Ethnicity: Kawasaki disease is more common in children of Asian or Pacific Island ancestry, including Japanese or Korean children.