Kawasaki syndrome (Kawasaki disease)
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Written on 20-03-2011 by jahdegroot
The Kawasaki syndrome (also Kawasaki disease, lymph node syndrome or mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome (MLNS)) is a very rare disease. When a person suffers from Kawasaki syndrome, his/her middle large blood vessels throughout the whole body are inflamed.
When was the disease discovered?
Kawasaki syndrome was discovered in 1967 by the Japanese doctor Tomisaka Kawasaki. This doctor was the first to diagnose Kawasaki syndrome and described the best way to treat this disease. The syndrome is named after this Japanese doctor and is therefore called Kawasaki syndrome.
Aetiology of the Kawasaki syndrome
The exact cause of Kawasaki syndrome is still not known. Scientists and doctors suspect that a bacterium or a virus causes the Kawasaki syndrome.
Symptoms of the Kawasaki syndrome
A person that has from Kawasaki syndrome suffers from symptoms like: (high-grade) fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, rash all over the body and red mucous membranes in the mouth.
Treatment of Kawasaki syndrome
The main treatment of Kawasaki syndrome is intravenous immunoglobulin (immunoglobulins are antibodies). With intravenous we mean 'directly into the vein'. A needle is inserted directly into the vein to get the immunoglobulin in the circulation as soon as possible. Besides the immunoglobulin, a high dose of aspirin will be administered to minimize the side symptoms of Kawasaki syndrome.
Who is at risk for Kawasaki syndrome?
The Kawasaki syndrome only occurs in children, predominantly in children under the age of 5. The mean age of patients suffering from Kawasaki syndrome is estimated at 2 years and two-thirds of the patients are boys. Typically, Kawasaki syndrome is diagnosed more in Japanese people than in non-Japanese people.
Classification of Kawasaki syndrome
Kawasaki syndrome is classified as a vasculatitis since 1993. Vasculitis literally means ‘inflammation of the veins'. Sometimes Kawasaki syndrome is misdiagnosed as scarlet fever, which presents with almost the same symptoms.