Kawasaki Syndrome/ Mucocutaneous Lymph Node SyndromeThis is an uncommon disease which is characterised by fever and mainly affects children below 5 years of age. It is an autoimmune disease which affects the skin, eyes, mucous membrane, lymph nodes and walls of blood vessels. The non-treatment of the disease in time may lead to dilations in the heart, which could be fatal.
Children with Kawasaki disease can develop inflammation of the arteries in various parts of the body. This inflammation of the arteries is called vasculitis. Arteries that can be affected include the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle (the coronary arteries). Vasculitis can cause weakening of the blood vessels and lead to areas of vessel widening (aneurysms). Coronary aneurysms have been reported in up to 25% of cases with Kawasaki disease. Other arteries that can become inflamed include the arteries of the lungs, neck, and abdomen which may lead to breathing problems, headaches, and pain in the belly, respectively.
The usual symptoms of Kawasaki disease include –
- High grade fever (102ºF-104ºF) lasts for more than 5 days
- Reddening of eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Cracked and inflamed lips and mucous membranes of mouth
- Strawberry tongue with white coating or prominent red bumps on the back of the tongue
- Ulcerative gums (gingivitis)
- Red palms of the hand and soles of the feet
- Swollen Lymph Nodes in the throat
- Hard swollen rashes which peel off
- Joint pain
- Breathing difficulty
The cause is not known. Microorganisms and toxins have been suspected, but none has been identified to date. Thus, it appears that the main cause of such illness may be failure of the immune system.
Kawasaki disease generally resolves on its own after four to eight weeks.
However, the outcome is not so favorable in every case. Rarely, Kawasaki disease can cause death from blood clots forming in abnormal areas of widening (aneurysms) of the heart arteries (coronary arteries). The children with larger aneurysms are at higher risk.
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