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Symptoms and Signs of Kawasaki Disease

Doctor's Notes on Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is an acute vascular illness in children between 6 months to 5 years and presents with fever and signs and symptoms that often appear sequentially. The disease is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children and untreated, can result in heart attacks. Signs and symptoms are as follows: fever of at least 5 days and at least 4 of the following symptoms – red eyes without discharge, red and cracked lips plus a strawberry appearance of the tongue, rash, swelling and/or skin peeling of the hands (palms) or feet (soles) and large lymph nodes of the neck (can be >15 cm). The child appears irritable and ill. Some patients may show fewer than the symptoms above but show findings of coronary aneurysms or coronary enlargement after about 11 – 30 days.

The cause of Kawasaki disease is not completely known. There are many theories but none have been proven. Infection and/or toxin production rank high in the theories but researchers have not identified the trigger for the disease development.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.