Clinical focus: a look at Kawasaki disease

Glove box OPT

What is it?

It is a disease of unknown origin, probably infectious but with autoimmune and genetic elements that affect children.

What does it look like?

The child will have a prolonged fever of at least five days. The most common classical features in addition to fever are:

  • bilateral conjunctivitis
  • anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris of the eye)
  • perianal erythema.

Other classic features are:

  • redness and swelling on hands and feet
  • red coloured tongue and lip fissures
  • liver, kidney and GI dysfunction
  • myocarditis and pericarditis
  • swollen lymph glands, often just one cervical node.

Other symptoms are non-specific but include:

  • irritability
  • vomiting
  • reduced eating and drinking
  • cough
  • diarrhoea
  • runny nose
  • weakness
  • abdominal pain
  • joint pain.

The fever can vary but can have spikes of 39-40˚C.

What should I do about it?

All children with a fever that has lasted five days or more, or those with a fever of shorter duration, who are displaying classical features, should see a doctor to rule out Kawasaki disease.

Kawasaki is a rare condition – the Trust has produced a ‘rare conditions handbook’ that covers this, and other rare illnesses, to help with your clinical decision making. You can download a copy here.

Leave a Comment
Name (required)
Email Address (required, never displayed)
Enter a message

(all comments are moderated - your submission will be posted on approval.)