Kawasaki disease 


Kawasaki disease mainly affects children under five years old and causes a high temperature that can reach 40C (104F) 


The Kawasaki Support Group UK can provide you with additional information and advice about your child's condition.

Media last reviewed: 22/10/2014

Next review due: 22/10/2016

Kawasaki disease is a rare condition that mainly affects children under the age of five. It is also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome.

The characteristic symptoms of Kawasaki disease are a high temperature that lasts for more than five days, with:

  • a rash
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • dry, cracked lips
  • red fingers or toes
  • red eyes

See your GP if your child is unwell with the above symptoms. The symptoms of Kawasaki disease can be similar to those of other conditions that cause a fever in children.

Kawasaki disease cannot be prevented but if it is diagnosed and treated promptly, most children will make a full recovery within six to eight weeks.

Read more about diagnosing Kawasaki disease.

It is thought that Kawasaki disease is caused by an infection, although the exact cause is not fully understood. Read more about the possible causes of Kawasaki disease.

Treating Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki disease is usually treated in hospital because it can sometimes lead to serious complications (see below).

It is best if treatment begins as soon as possible, ideally within 10 days of the symptoms starting. The sooner treatment starts, the quicker the recovery time and the less risk there is of complications developing.

Aspirin and intravenous immunoglobulin (a solution of antibodies) are the two main medicines used to treat Kawasaki disease.

Read more about treating Kawasaki disease.

Complications of Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki disease causes the blood vessels to become inflamed and swollen, which can lead to complications in the coronary arteries (the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart).

Up to 5% of children with Kawasaki disease experience complications with their heart. In about 1% of cases, the complications can be fatal.

Because of this, the condition has become the leading cause of acquired heart disease (when the heart's blood supply is blocked or interrupted) in the UK.

Read more about the complications of Kawasaki disease.

Who is affected?

In the UK around eight in every 100,000 children develop Kawasaki disease each year.

Research carried out in England from 1998 to 2003 found that 72% of children with Kawasaki disease were under five years old. The condition was also shown to be one-and-a-half times more common in boys than in girls.

Page last reviewed: 07/04/2014

Next review due: 07/04/2016


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

BINDI123 said on 17 June 2014

My 3yo son complained of pain in his thigh the week prior to his diagnoses of Kawaski disease.
on a friday he returned from child care with a fever of 39 degrees. The following morning he still had a fever, pale, tummy pains and cold hands & feet with purple toes and breathing quickly.
He was not hungry but very thirsty for water and licking his lips. He was discharged 4 hours later as he improved. they advised a chest infection.
He returned to emergency sunday evening (Day 3), with high fever & abdominal pain and vomiting.
On examination he had Red eyes, peeling lips, red palms, feet & tongue. and small patchy rash on his hand forearm (where the angel cream was) and on his back plus now a headache and slightly swollen feet.
Day 5 he was diagnosed with Kawasaki showing all signs as well as inflammation internally from blood test.
Immunogloblin treatment started day 5- erratic & crying the whole 8-10 hours but responded well & discharged the next day.
Day 7- returned to hospital with fever, vomiting headache.
Received 2nd dose of immunoglblin. Responded even better and discharged 24 hours later.
Day 10 he had ECHO and no signs of damage. Sheets of Peeling hands and feet, yellow skin colour on neck.
We're day 12 Gets very tired quickly, very irritable but no fever, still peeling. He will be on Asprin for weeks to come until next ECHO. He's eating again.
I read forums about carpet cleaning and water, i had my carpets cleaned a week before which my son played on within 1 hour of being done. Reading reports of no confirmations to agree or deny, i find it coincidental that the stats were 48% of households had dry-cleaned carpets with chemical based products within 30 days of kawaski diagnosis for their child. Ive had my carpets done many times but this was the 1st my child was home at the time & played on the damp cleaned carpet. I am keen to find out if anymore research has been done, as i can't find anything updated since 2012.

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