About Kawasaki Disease

Key points

  • Kawasaki disease (KD) can cause heart and blood vessel damage.
  • It occurs mostly in children younger than 5 years old.
  • It affects boys more often than girls.
  • KD symptoms include fever that lasts at least 5 days plus at least 1 other common disease symptom.
  • Most children recover with treatment.
  • Speak with a healthcare provider if your child has symptoms of KD.
Image of toddlers.
Kawasaki disease primarily affects children younger than 5 years of age.


Kawasaki disease (KD), also known as Kawasaki syndrome, is a disease that can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels, mostly in children younger than 5 years old. It affects boys more often than girls. The cause of KD is not known.

In the continental United States, it's estimated that KD occurs in 9 to 20 per 100,000 children under 5 years of age.

In 2019, there were more than 5,000 children under 18 years of age who were hospitalized with KD in the United States. Of these children, 3,693 were under 5 years of age; this means there was a hospitalization rate of 18.9 per 100,000 children in that age group.

Signs and symptoms

Illustration of Kawasaki Disease signs and symptoms, including red eyes, strawberry tongue, rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and red and swollen hands and feet
Children may have all or just some of the signs and symptoms of Kawasaki Disease.

Children with KD have a fever that typically lasts for 5 days or longer. They may also have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Rash
  • Swelling and redness of their hands and feet
  • Irritation and redness of the whites of their eyes
  • Swollen lymph glands in their neck
  • Irritation and inflammation of their mouth, lips, and throat

KD can cause serious complications, including swelling of parts of the heart and other blood vessels. When this happens, the heart doesn't work as well to pump blood to the body and could burst (coronary artery dilation and aneurysms).

Surveillance and reporting for healthcare professionals

For epidemiologic surveillance, CDC defines a case of KD as illness in a patient with fever that lasts 5 or more days (or fever until the intravenous immunoglobulin is given, if given before the fifth day of fever), and having at least 4 of the following 5 clinical signs:

  • Rash
  • Swelling and redness of their hands and feet
  • Cervical lymphadenopathy (at least 15 cm in diameter)
  • Bilateral conjunctival injection
  • Oral mucosal changes

Patients whose illness does not meet the above KD case definition but have fever and coronary artery abnormalities are classified as having atypical or incomplete KD.

The CDC standardized KD case report form is available as a PDF document for healthcare workers to submit a report. If you are a healthcare professional and wish to submit a report, you can either print the form and fill it out by hand or fill it out electronically and print it out. The completed form should be sent to the mailing address provided on the form or sent by fax to 404-471-8768.

Treatment and recovery

Treatment for KD is available, and it must be given at the hospital. It typically combines a mixture of antibodies given through your veins (intravenous immunoglobulin) and aspirin. The treatment can help make symptoms less severe and reduce the risk of serious complications. Healthcare professionals may recommend additional treatments.

Most children recover with proper treatment.

Similar conditions

There are reports of illnesses that look like Kawasaki disease after infection with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). This is called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

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