Infantile polyarteritis or Kawasaki disease is a disease predominately affecting children or infants under the age of five years. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease, which affects the mucous membranes, lymph nodes and lining of the blood vessels and heart.
The initial symptom is a fever lasting for approximately two weeks that remains unresponsive to the usual antipyretic treatments. Conjunctivitis and swollen lymph nodes often follow. In addition, the tongue and palms of the hands and feet may be red and swollen and the child may have, cracked lips, joint pain and a rash.
Later the skin may peel from the hands, feet and groin. Tests including an echocardiography may reveal coronary artery aneurysms and inflammation of the blood vessels. In most cases there is complete spontaneous recovery.
However, in some children, coronary aneurysms may lead to a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Currently there is no way to prevent the onset of this disorder.
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