Kawasaki is a disease that causes swelling (inflammation) in the walls of medium-sized arteries throughout the body and it primarily affects children most of whom are under the age of 5

The inflammation tends to affect the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle.

One of the leading causes of heart disease in children is attributed to Kawasaki disease and can be treated if it is found early, and most children recover from the disease without any problem.

What are the causes of Kawasaki disease?

Scientists have not found an exact cause for Kawasaki disease. But think it is probably linked to a combination of genetics, exposure to viruses and bacteria, and other environment factors, such as chemicals and irritants.

Symptoms of Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki symptoms show up in phases.

1st phase

The Signs and symptoms of the first phase may include:

 Red eyes without a thick discharge

A rash at the main part of the body and in the genital area

Red, dry, cracked lips and an extremely crimson, swollen tongue

Swollen, red skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet

Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and possibly elsewhere

2nd phase

In the second phase of Kawasaki disease, the signs and symptoms may include:


Abdominal pain

Joint pain


3rd phase

In the third phase of Kawasaki disease, the signs and symptoms go away slowly unless a complication develop or arise. This may be as long as eight weeks before energy levels seem normal again.

How is Kawasaki disease diagnosed?

There is no specific and precise test available to diagnose Kawasaki disease. Diagnosis entails ruling out other diseases or ailment that cause similar signs and symptoms, which includes:

Scarlet fever, which is due to streptococcal bacteria which results in fever, rash, chills and sore throat

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

A disorder of the mucous membranes also known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome


Certain tick-borne illnesses consisting of Rocky Mountain spotted fever

The health practitioner (doctor) will do a physical examination and order blood and urine checks to help in the diagnosis. Tests can also include:

1. Blood tests. 

Blood tests assist rule out other diseases and check the child’s blood cell count. Results indicating a high white blood cell count and the presence of anemia and inflammation are signs of Kawasaki disease.

2. Electrocardiogram. 

Electrodes are attached to the skin to measure the electrical impulses of your child’s heartbeat. Kawasaki disease can cause heart rhythm problems.

3. Echo-cardiogram

Echo-cardiogram test make uses of ultrasound images to show how well the heart is working and can help identify problems with the coronary arteries.


Children with Kawasaki disease should be taken to the hospital and cared for by a physician who has experience with this disease.

Reviewed on the 9/4/2020

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