Sixteen San Diego children have been diagnosed with Kawasaki disease since this January, and County Health officials believe that more cases may occur through March because of the wet, cool weather we’ve been experiencing.
“The symptoms of Kawasaki disease include fever for up to 10 days, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, bloodshot eyes, swollen lymph glands in the neck, and/or red mouth, lips and throat,” says Dr. Jaime Friedman of Children’s Physicians Medical Group. “Peeling of the fingers and toes is a late finding in many patients after the fever has subsided.”
Photo Credit: Kawasaki Kids Family Foundation
Kawasaki disease is the most common acquired heart disease in children. Untreated, roughly one-quarter of children with Kawasaki disease develop coronary artery aneurysms – balloon-like bulges of heart vessels – that may ultimately result in heart attacks, congestive heart failure or sudden death.
While weather may be a factor in contracting this disease, so may ethnicity, age and gender. Asian/Pacific Islanders have an increased relative risk of contracting Kawasaki disease compared to other races or ethnicities as do males and children 5 and younger.
Kawasaki disease is estimated to affect fewer than 6,000 children in the U.S. each year, but cases appear to be rising in San Diego County. The Kawasaki Disease Research Center at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine alerted HHSA to the fact that twice as many San Diego children had been diagnosed with Kawasaki disease so far this year compared to prior years.
Diagnosing and treating Kawasaki Disease within the first 10 days is crucial to prevent long-term damage “If your child has a fever that lasts more than four to five days, especially with any of the above findings, contact your child’s doctor,” says Dr. Friedman.
For more information about the disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Kawasaki syndrome website or the Kawasaki Disease Research Center website.
Children’s Physicians Medical Group is a long-time partner of The Mom’s Guide to San Diego. They are pediatric healthcare experts with same-day appointments if your child is sick or hurt and convenient locations throughout San Diego County offering after-hours care. We appreciate their contribution to our health-related articles!