Kawasaki disease is a condition that can affect many parts of a child’s body, including the mucous membranes (lining of the mouth and breathing passages), skin, eyes, and lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system. The disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the U.S, and it can affect the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. This can lead, in rare cases, to heart attack and death.
What causes Kawasaki disease?
There are lots of theories about what causes Kawasaki disease. Researchers have thought that it might be linked to genetics or even the wind, of all things. Patients tend to be diagnosed with the condition more frequently from winter through spring, which suggests a possible environmental trigger. Some investigators have even theorized that carpet mites could be carrying a pathogen that causes the disease. “People had their carpets cleaned and, soon after, their children were diagnosed with Kawasaki disease,” said Michael Portman, MD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.