Kawasaki disease is primarily an illness that affects children, with up to 80% of patients being younger than 5 years old.
First observed in Japan in the 1960s Kawasaki disease symptoms, at least in the early stages of infection are not so different from other infectious diseases or indeed an allergic reaction. Patients can experience red, bloodshot eyes, a red rash on parts of the body, including the groin area, red cracked lips, tiredness, vomiting, joint pain and swelling, and irritability. But the symptom that does stand out is a high and prolonged fever that can last for several days. Left untreated Kawasaki disease can cause damage to the coronary arteries and heart.
The symptoms can usually disappear within 10 days even without treatment. That is the experience of most children with the infection. However, according to the patient support group Patient UK, 1 in 100 children who have the disease and are not treated die of heart complications.
Treatment usually involves aspirin and gammaglobulin, and administered early reduces the chances of heart complications. Without treatment some patients can develop aneurysms. Other treatments involve the administration of plenty of fluids, and making patients as comfortable as possible during the fever stage. Most children go on to make a full recovery.