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What Is Kawasaki Disease?
Kawasaki disease is an intense illness that mostly affects children. The cause is unknown although it is possible that an infection or an exposure to a toxin may trigger the illness. Kawasaki disease is not believed to be contagious.
If left untreated this condition can be very dangerous. Small and medium-sized arteries, including those that supply blood to the heart muscle, become inflamed. The lymph nodes, skin and mucous membranes inside the mouth, nose and throat are affected. Kawasaki disease can cause very noticeable symptoms, including a persistent high fever, skin peeling, redness in the eyes, swollen lymph nodes, a sore throat and a rash on the skin.
In many cases this condition can be treated at the hospital. It is best to seek medical care right away to prevent complications to the cardiovascular system. It can be fatal in rare cases. What are the stats on Kawasaki disease?
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These stats give a better picture of who is affected by this condition and what the outlook is for children who end up with this condition.
- Kawasaki disease mostly affects children under the age of five, specifically one and two year olds. It is rarely seen in children over eight years of age.
- Boys are more likely to develop this illness then girls.
- While any child can get the disease it is most prevalent among children of Japanese and Korean descent.
- Nineteen out of every 100,000 children in the United States will come down with Kawasaki disease.
- If treatment starts within ten days of the start of symptoms the disease can usually be managed without complications to the heart.
- Twenty to twenty-five percent of children may develop inflammation of the arteries, which can be prevented if treated early. Even if heart complications occur, they are not necessarily going to be long-lasting.
- One to two percent of kids who have this illness will die from either Kawasaki disease or the complications that it can cause.
- If a child had Kawasaki disease it is unlikely that they will have to face it again although there have been reported recurring cases.
Looking at these stats on Kawasaki disease it is clear that this can be a very serious and dangerous illness. Heart complications include inflammation of the heart muscle or the blood vessels, heart valve problems and abnormal heart rhythm. Arthritis and meningitis are other possible complications. Fortunately only a small percentage of children will face heart complications or other problems and an even smaller percentage will have lasting damage. It is very important to seek medical care if a child is experiencing symptoms as waiting too long can, in rare cases, lead to death.
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Wisconsin Department of Health Services, http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/factsheets/KawasakiSyndrome.htm
Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kawasaki-disease/DS00576
Maryland Infectious Disease & Environmental Health Administration, http://www.edcp.org/factsheets/kawasaki.cfm
Kids Health, http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/heart/kawasaki.html#