KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 (Bernama) — Kawasaki disease or also known as Kawasaki syndrome although rare, can cause the risk of death among infected children if not given appropriate treatment immediately.
Senior consultant paediatrician and also consultant clinical immunologist and allergist at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Teaching Hospital, Associate Prof Dr Intan Hakimah Ismail said the disease that involves inflammation of the blood vessels tends to strike children under five years of age.
“The most worrying complication of Kawasaki disease is inflammation of the coronary arteries which can lead to heart problems and then risk death if not treated properly,” she told Bernama recently.
According to Dr Intan Hakimah who is also the head of the Clinical Immunology Unit, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UPM, Kawasaki disease is difficult to diagnose because it has similar symptoms to other diseases including fever.
However, parents can take the first step by taking their child to see a doctor if they have symptoms such as fever for more than five days; rash on parts of the body; swelling of the glands; red, swollen tongue called ‘strawberry tongue’ and red eyes but not watery or have eye discharge.
“If children have these symptoms, immediately take them to see a doctor, preferably a paediatrician because they are more skilled and can find out if it is Kawasaki or not,” she said.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health posted an infographic on Kawasaki disease and advised parents to seek immediate treatment if their child has symptoms to reduce the risk of heart complications.
On treatment, Dr Intan Hakimah said children who were confirmed to be infected with Kawasaki mostly recovered within a few days, but in some serious cases, patients had to be treated in hospital to enable immunoglobulin antibodies by intravenous (IV) infusion given to them.
Dr Intan Hakimah said that as of now it has not been possible to identify the real cause of Kawasaki infection which was detected by a Japanese paediatrician, Dr Tomisaku Kawasaki, for the first time in 1967.
In this regard, she advised parents to always take precautions in case their children have a fever and not to consider it as something normal for a growing up child.
Meanwhile, senior consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS said Kawasaki was not a virus and Asian young children were more prone to the disease.
Asked about the preventive measures, Dr Amar who is the advisor to the National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC), advised parents to seek immediate help if they suspect their child has all the symptoms.
“It is not known what causes the disease, but there is a good treatment for Kawasaki disease which is using immunoglobulin and aspirin. However, the best indicator is the prolonged fever and not responding to usual treatment,” he told Bernama.