What Causes Kawasaki Disease?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Mar 20, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • The illness causes high fever, conjunctivitis, rashes on the hands and feet.
  • There is no clear evidence on any cause for kawasaki disease.
  • The disease is believed to be a result of abnormal reaction to virus.
  • Children aged between 2 to 5 years are at greater risk of developing the disease.

Kawasaki disease, also known as kawasaki syndrome, is an illness that causes high fever, rashes on the hands and feet, conjunctivitis, mucous membrane of the mouth, gingivitis and swollen neck glands, mostly in young children. The cause of kawasaki disease is unknown, but experts believe it is a virus because of the characteristics of many of the symptoms it causes. It is not a contagious disease and therefore, is unlikely that virus is the only cause of it.


kawasaki syndrome casues


Studies suggests that kawasaki disease may be caused by an abnormal reaction to some common virus that does not bother many people. A few researches called the disease an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks its own healthy tissues as if they were a pathogen. By far, there is no clear evidence on any cause for kawasaki disease.

Kawasaki disease is one of the leading causes of acquired heart disease in children. Owing to limited knowledge, the disease often goes undetected in many children. Instead, damage to the heart is allowed to perpetuate and harm the child.


Risk Factors for Kawasaki Disease

The following may be considered to be possible risk factors for kawasaki disease:

  • Age: Children aged between 2 to 5 years are at greater risk of developing the disease compared with other age groups. Older children and teenagers may also develop kawasaki disease, but this is rare.
  • Gender: Baby boys are more likely to develop the disease than baby girls.
  • Race: People with an Asian ancestry, specifically Japanese or Chinese, have succumbed to the disease in large numbers in the past and are more likely to develop Kawasaki disease compared with people of the other races.



One of the characteristics of kawasaki disease is fever that lasts for over 5 days. Even after treatment with standard childhood fever medicines, the fever tends to persist. Affected children may have red eyes, red lips and redness on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet all of which are indications of inflamed blood vessels. Children with these symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and irritable.


causes kawasaki syndrome


Kawasaki disease can't be prevented, though early diagnosis and treatment helps to reduce the risk of kawasaki disease affecting the coronary arteries which may cause serious complications. With appropriate treatment, most children who have the disease usually recover within weeks of getting the symptoms. If the disease attacks children's coronary arteries, they need long-term care and treatment.


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