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What is Kawasaki syndrome (referred to in relation to coronavirus)?

Kawasaki syndrome

Kawasaki disease identifies a rather rare pathology of the blood vessels (in the limelight in times of coronavirus): here are the symptoms, the causes and the treatments.

Auto-immune childhood vasculitis – an inflammation of the blood vessels – Kawasaki syndrome, by medical definition. This disease mainly affects infants and children aged 1 to 8 and mainly affects the coronary arteries. The symptoms are similar to those of many other common childhood conditions, which is why diagnosis often comes late . This disease was brought to the fore for an alleged link with the Sars-Cov-2 virus, for the sudden growth of cases in the months of March and April 2020.

Kawasaki syndrome and coronavirus

This infection of the coronary arteries, and more generally of the blood vessels, has been found in a particular high number of cases of children of all ages both in Bergamo , the epicenter of the Coronavirus epidemic in Italy, and also in the United Kingdom in the months of March and April 2020, when the pandemic broke out.

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In fact, as also communicated by the English National Health System, there has been a sharp increase in cases of this pathology in recent weeks. The affected subjects were also, in some cases, hospitalized in intensive care. In the same way, the number of cases recorded on average in several years has been recorded in Bergamo (we always speak of low figures, since it is a rare syndrome). Scientists are trying to figure out if there is a direct correlation, but so far there is still no confirmation.

Kawasaki syndrome: symptoms and causes

Even before this increase in cases, the causes leading to the onset of the disease were not yet known. The hypothesis currently considered more reliable, concerns the possibility that vasculitis is triggered by an external infection . Furthermore, some scholars believe that there may be a genetic predisposition to the disease.

Kawasaki syndrome develops in several stages , each of which characterized by particular symptoms.

• At first, it occurs with high fever (40 ° C) resistant to antibiotic and antipyretic, lasting more than 5 days, conjunctivitis, enlarged lymph nodes, lesions of the oral mucosa, edema of the hands and feet , similar skin manifestations to those of measles and scarlet fever.
• The second phase is characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea , vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, headache , joint pain and peeling of the fingers and toes. This is the most delicate moment, in which complications often arise . Kawasaki syndrome can lead to heart damage (cardiac inflammation, myocarditis , pericarditis, thrombosis, heart attack) in 5-10% of cases.

Kawasaki syndrome
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Treatments for Kawasaki disease

As seen, the severity of the symptoms and complications of this disease requires timely treatment. It is not always easy to diagnose Kawasaki syndrome, for this reason particular attention must be paid to every smallest symptom .

Therapy involves the administration of immunoglobulins to reduce the risk of heart complications and the use of aspirin to thin the blood. This is one of the very rare cases in which doctors recommend taking aspirin in children , otherwise absolutely dangerous for health .

Kawasaki syndrome heals in most cases , especially if treated early. Some patients had a relapse within the second year of the onset of the disease. In the case of cardiovascular complications, it is important to perform periodic checks to check the health of the heart.

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