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What is Kawasaki Disease?

‘In the UK & Ireland research shows 39% of babies diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease develop serious heart damage’

Kawasaki Disease is an acute illness usually seen in children, most commonly under 8 years of age, it is an inflammatory process (a type of vasculitis) that affects almost every system in the body.

Kawasaki Disease is often misdiagnosed, delaying treatment that is so desperately needed, which then leads to serious heart damage in babies and children. This is why MDD First Aid feels it is paramount to improve the knowledge and awareness of this condition.

It was identified in 1967 in Japan by Tomisaku Kawasaki, the cause of Kawasaki Disease is still unknown,

‘Kawasaki Disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the UK’

The illness presents with several symptoms common to a variety of other childhood diseases and infections and is therefore often misdiagnosed, it is very serious and if untreated can cause coronary artery (vessels in the heart) damage.

There is no diagnostic test for Kawasaki Disease, it is based on the following criteria:

  •  A temperature of 5 days or more plus 2 of the following ~
  • Red eyes (not sticky)
  • Sore mouth, cracked red lips, red tongue (often strawberry like)
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Changes to the fingers and toes often with redness

Most of these symptoms occur in the first few days of the illness, although they may not all be present initially, peeling of the skin may take place between 14 to 21 days after the start of the fever.

‘UK treatment for Kawasaki Disease is still too slow’

Other typical features may include ~

  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Moodiness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tummy ache
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice

‘Outcomes from Kawasaki Disease in the UK remain unchanged since the 1990s’

Children affected by Kawasaki Disease have much improved chances of a good recovery with timely diagnosis and the correct treatment.

For Family Support visit  Click here to go to the KSSG page, this is run by volunteers who themselves as parents have experienced the challenges of a Kawasaki Disease diagnosis, they offer beneficial support in the form of listening, understanding and guidance.

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