Kawasaki syndrome is a serious rash febrile illness of children. It is a relatively rare disease. There were 2 cases reported among New York City children in 2001.
Most cases occur in infants and children under age five.
Little is known about how 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.
Most cases have a high spiking fever that does not respond to antibiotics. The fever lasts more than five days and is associated with irritability, swollen lymph nodes, red eyes, dry fissured lips, sore throat, and a "strawberry" tongue. The rash may cover the entire body and is sometimes followed by peeling of the skin on the hands and fingers.
Recurrences have been reported but they are extremely rare.
Most patients are treated in the hospital where they can be closely watched. Aspirin and immunoglobulin are often prescribed.
The most frequent complication is coronary artery aneurysms (ballooning out of vessels in the heart). Other organs may be involved as well. Approximately 1-2 percent of cases are fatal.
Studies have not yet identified an agent, risk factors for the disease or the transmission route. At the present time, there are no known effective preventive measures.
Last updated March 2003