Kawasaki's Disease

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Kawasaki's disease facts

  • Kawasaki's disease is a syndrome of unknown cause that mainly strikes young children.
  • Kawasaki's disease symptoms and signs include
  • The disease can be treated with high doses of aspirin (salicylic acid) and gammaglobulin.
  • Kawasaki's disease symptoms usually resolve within a month or two, but the disease should be considered a "lifelong disease" because monitoring for late-onset heart artery changes is necessary.
  • Some children with Kawasaki's disease suffer damage to the coronary arteries.

What is Kawasaki's disease, and how do doctors diagnose it?

Kawasaki's disease is an uncommon illness in children that is characterized by high fever of at least five days' duration together with at least four of the following five findings:

  1. Inflammation with reddening of the whites of the eyes (conjunctivitis) without pus
  2. Redness or swelling of the feet or hands, or generalized skin peeling
  3. Rash
  4. Lymph node swelling in the neck
  5. Cracking, inflamed lips or throat, or red "strawberry" tongue

The above criteria are used to make a diagnosis of Kawasaki's disease. The terminology "incomplete Kawasaki's disease" is sometimes used for patients with only some features of classical Kawasaki's disease. Most patients are under 5 years of age with a peak incidence at 18 months of age.

What is mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome?

Mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome is the original name for Kawasaki's disease. The original name was quite descriptive because the disease is characterized by the typical changes in the mucous membranes that line the lips and mouth and by the enlarged and tender lymph nodes. Kawasaki's disease is also sometimes referred to as Kawasaki disease.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015

Slideshow: Children's Health - Childhood Illnesses Every Parent Should Know

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Kawasaki Disease - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with Kawasaki's disease?
Kawasaki Disease - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your Kawasaki's disease?
Kawasaki Disease - Describe Your Experience Question: Did you or your child have Kawasaki's disease? Please share your experience.

Kawasaki's Disease Symptoms and Signs

High fever is a prominent symptom in children with Kawasaki disease. The fever is persistent and lasts for at least five days. Nonspecific symptoms can precede or accompany the fever, including

  • fussiness,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • runny nose,
  • cough,
  • diarrhea,
  • joint pain,
  • abdominal pain,
  • and decreased intake of food and liquids.