Kawasaki disease (also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome) is a condition where the blood vessels in the body are inflamed. It is a noncommunicable disease that affects those who are genetically predisposed. Tomisaku Kawasaki of Japan first described the disease in 1967. The condition can lead to complications, such as coronary artery aneurysms one to two years after the disease is treated. While the cause is still unknown, it may be due to an autoimmune response triggered by an infection.
Kawasaki disease is diagnosed based on the symptoms of the patient. Some tests that can help with diagnosis include an ultrasound of the heart and blood tests. The initial treatment of Kawasaki disease usually involves high doses of immunoglobulin and aspirin. With treatment, the fever usually resolves after two days, with the patient making a full recovery. If the coronary arteries are involved, ongoing treatment will be required, along with occasional surgery.
Left untreated, 25 percent of patients with Kawasaki disease have coronary artery issues and 1 percent of patients die. The risk of death is 0.17 percent with treatment. It is a rare disease that affects about 8 to 67 children per 100,000 individuals under the age of five. After the age of five, Kawasaki disease is less common. It is most prevalent in Japan, where there are about 124 cases per 100,000 individuals. It affects boys more often than girls.
Symptom #1: Fever
Fever, or pyrexia, is the elevation of the set point of body temperature above normal. When the set point of body temperature increases, the body tries to reach the higher temperature. Chills, which cause a sensation of cold, often accompany a fever. The repeated muscle contractions caused by shivering help increase body temperature as the body continuously tries to produce and conserve more heat.
A fever is a nonspecific and common symptom observed in various conditions, such as viral infections, parasitic infections, bacterial infections, vasculitis, and deep vein thrombosis. A fever also can be a side effect of medications. In Kawasaki disease, the fever usually lasts for more than five days and is not very responsive to normal treatment. The temperature is usually above 39 to 40 degrees Celsius. In young children, a high fever can trigger a febrile seizure. Fevers can be managed using antipyretics, such as paracetamol (acetaminophen) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).