Kawasaki Disease is a serious illness characterized by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body that primarily affects young children and infants. Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. Although about 80 percent of patients are under five years of age, older children and teenagers can also get Kawasaki Disease, but this is uncommon. It is more common in boys than girls, and the majority of cases are diagnosed in the winter and early spring. It is not contagious.
Although it is more prevalent in children of Asian and Pacific Island descent, Kawasaki Disease affects children of all racial and ethnic groups. It is estimated that more than 4,200 children are diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease in the United States each year.
WITHOUT TREATMENT, ABOUT 25% OF CHILDREN DEVELOP HEART DISEASE
Timely diagnosis and treatment (which usually includes intravenous gamma globulin) is highly effective in preventing coronary complications. Doctors continue to study the long-term outcome of children who do not appear to have coronary involvement. Other kinds of longer-term consequences (e.g., non-coronary) are extremely rare. There is no evidence that links Kawasaki Disease with autism or a seizure disorder. A very small number of Kawasaki Disease children might have a seizure in the early acute stage of Kawasaki Disease when there are very high fevers, but there is no on-going or long-term seizure prone condition.