What is Kawasaki disease, which questions specialists?

Doctors are worried about a new form of illness: the appearance of children affected by a serious inflammatory disease, resembling Kawasaki disease, may be linked to the Covid-19. What are we talking about with this “Kawasaki disease”? Explanations.

Kawasaki disease. Little known to the general public, this pathology is well known to specialists. Today it is at the heart of the news, with an increase in cases similar to this disease, especially in children tested positive for Covid-19. But what is this Kawasaki disease?

It is a disease that causes inflammation of the walls of blood vessels. “Inflammatory vascular damage, which can manifest as skin damage, conjunctivitis, lymph nodes, and especially fever for more than 5 days”, explains Professor Stéphane Dauger, head of the pediatric resuscitation department of the hospital Robert Debré . Certain cases can also present a cardiac attack. “This syndrome can be complicated by coronary aneurysms in 25 to 30% of cases”.

A resolution that occurs spontaneously

Very often, the resolution of the disease occurs spontaneously. For severe forms, without treatment, mortality can approach 1%. It usually occurs within six weeks of the first onset. This syndrome has been reported worldwide, but it remains more common in Asian populations, and especially in Japan. It was in this country that it was first described in 1967 by pediatrician Tomisaku Kawasaki. The incidence of the disease in children under the age of 5 is estimated at 8.1 / 100,000 in the United Kingdom, 17.1 / 100,000 in the United States, and 112/100,000 in Japan.

On the forms observed at the moment, and closely followed by European researchers and doctors, it is a little different. “We observe myocardial dysfunction but no damage to the coronaries,” explains Stéphane Dauger.

The specialists are still looking

“It looks like viral myocarditis or Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disease, without being one in my opinion, because this disease is common in children younger than those admitted to my service and that the table is not typical; that is to say that all the symptoms do not stick “, analyzes for his part Professor Pierre-Louis Léger, head of the pediatric resuscitation department of Trousseau Hospital.

The cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown. Experts believe that a trigger with a viral infection is most likely. At the Assembly, Olivier Véran indicated that “all pediatricians, resuscitators (in Europe) work together to see whether or not there is a need to make a link with the Coronavirus”.

David T

David T is a french Medical student, during its free time, he is writing for The Medical Progress and helping us to understand better the Coronavirus.

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