Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is a rare but serious illness that most commonly affects children under age five. It can cause coronary artery aneurysms (ballooning out of vessels in the heart) and affect other organs. A small number of cases are fatal.

Researchers are not sure how people get this disease or how it spreads, but they believe it may be caused by an infection. Kawasaki disease does not appear to be transmitted person-to-person.


Most children with Kawasaki disease have a high fever that does not respond to antibiotics. The fever typically lasts five days or more.

Other symptoms may appear seven to 10 days before fever, or may be present at the same time as fever. These symptoms can include:

  • Irritability or lethargy (sluggishness)
  • Red eyes
  • Dry and cracked lips
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Red tongue with white spots
  • Peeling of the skin on the hands and fingers
  • Rash that may cover the entire body
  • Swollen lymph notes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


At this time, there are no proven preventive measures for Kawasaki disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Most patients are treated in the hospital, where they can be closely watched. Health care providers often prescribe aspirin and immunoglobulin (antibodies).

Additional Resources

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