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 the common cold, mild red rash, diarrhea, and sore throat. Severe coxsackievirus infection symptoms include meningitis, encephalitis, chest pain, and heart inflammation. Symptoms and signs of Kawasaki disease include a fever that lasts at least 5 days with at least four of the following five criteria: red eyes without discharge, red and cracked lips or strawberry tongue, rash, 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.
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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.
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.