Recently, I have been receiving many questions about Kawasaki Disease so here are the basic details…


Kawasaki disease is an illness that causes blood vessels to become inflamed, almost always in young children. It is an acute febrile illness of unknown cause that primarily affects children younger than 5 years of age. The disease was first described in Japan by Tomisaku Kawasaki in 1967



It usually affects children who are 5 or younger.


Signs of Kawasaki disease include:

  • High fever (above 101 F) that lasts more than 5 days.
  • Rash and/or peeling skin, often between the chest and legs and in the genital or groin area
  • Swelling and redness in hands and bottoms of feet, possibly with peeling skin
  • Red eyes
  • Swollen glands, especially in the neck
  • Irritated throat, mouth, and lips
  • Swollen, bright red “strawberry tongue”

In the second phase, symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Belly pain
  • Stomach trouble, such as diarrhea and vomiting
  • Peeling skin on hands and feet


Kawasaki disease can, rarely, cause heart trouble weeks after symptoms start.




In the continental United States, population-based and hospitalization studies estimate an incidence of KD ranging from 9 to 19 per 100,000 children under 5 years of age.


In the year 2000, approximately 4248 hospitalizations with KD were reported among children under 18 in the US, of which 3277 (77%) were for children under 5 years of age. In 2009, the estimated number of hospitalizations with KD was 5447.



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