Doctor's Notes on Coxsackievirus vs. Kawasaki Disease
Coxsackieviruses are common causes of infection in adults and children that can result in mild to life-threatening diseases. Coxsackievirus infection is contagious. Kawasaki disease is an illness associated with fevers that typically affects previously healthy children between 6 months to 5 years of age, and it is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children in the developed world.
Signs and symptoms of coxsackievirus infections include:
Severe coxsackievirus infection symptoms include:
Symptoms and signs of Kawasaki disease include a fever that lasts at least 5 days with at least 4 of the following criteria:
- red eyes without discharge,
- red and cracked lips or strawberry tongue,
- swelling/redness/peeling of the hands or feet,
- large lymph nodes of the neck, or
- fewer of the above symptoms but with evidence of coronary aneurysms or coronary enlargement seen on echocardiogram.
What Is the Treatment for Coxsackievirus vs. Kawasaki Disease?
There are no medical treatments that can cure coxsackievirus. In healthy children, these infections typically go away on their own without treatment. Medications to control pain and fever may be given if needed.
Treatment for Kawasaki disease often involves aspirin in high doses to treat inflammation (this is an exception to the rule that aspirin should be avoided in children) and infusion of an immune system protein known as gamma globulin.
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CoxsackievirusCoxsackievirus infection is spread from person to person when an infected person does not cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing or touches someone with unwashed hands. Though most cases of coxsackievirus infection are mild, with symptoms including diarrhea and sore throat, the infection may also cause meningitis, encephalitis, chest pain, and myopericarditis. Infection in newborns may be deadly. There is no specific treatment for coxsackievirus, though acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be used to treat the symptoms.
How Do You Get Kawasaki Disease?Kawasaki disease (Kawasaki syndrome or mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome) is an illness that creates inflammation in the medium-sized arteries of the body. Signs and symptoms include fever, rash, extremity changes, lymphadenopathy, internal organ involvement, bulbar conjunctivitis, and enathem. Treatment aims to prevent coronary artery aneurysms and other possible cardiac complications.
Kawasaki DiseaseKawasaki disease is an illness that mainly affects children under 5 years of age. Symptoms and signs include rash, strawberry tongue and fever. Treatment involves administering IV immunoglobulin and high-dose aspirin until the fever ends, followed by low-dose aspirin for 6-8 weeks.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.