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Wed January 22, 2014

Gov. Pat Quinn has passed a proclamation designating Sunday, January 26 as Kawasaki Awareness day in Illinois. According to the Kawasaki Disease Foundation, an estimated 4,200 children are diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease (KD) each year. KD is a serious illness that causes an inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body and primarily affects young children under 5 years of age. More importantly, KD is a leading cause of acquired heart disease in children.

It is still unclear what causes KD and due to the fact that there is no test to detect this disease in children, it is important to understand the common signs and symptoms of this disease. Treatment within 10 days after the initial symptoms appear is essential to decrease the risk of heart problems.

A high fever lasting at least five days is the initial symptom of KD. Other signs and symptoms that many, but not all children will develop include; 

  • Large, swollen glands in the neck
  • A rash that often peels
  • Red shiny of dry cracked lips
  • Red, lumpy tongue (strawberry tongue)
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Swollen / red hands or feet
  • Joint pains
  • Extreme irritability 

Children with these symptoms are understandable very uncomfortable and irritable. Any parent whose child is suffering from a long lasting fever and any of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. Most children who receive treatment will recover completely from KD when detected early. However, about 25% of children that do not receive treatment will develop heart disease.

For more information on Kawasaki Disease, visit For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.