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Kawasaki disease

Doctors in Italy and the UK are investigating a possible link between the coronavirus pandemic and an unexpected surge in cases among children of a severe inflammatory disease, kawasaki disease.

A red rash, as shown on this child’s back in this undated photo, is a symptom of Kawasaki disease.

Kawasaki Disease – also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome – is a condition which causes swelling of the blood vessels of the heart.

It mainly affects children under the age of five, and is more common in boys than in girls. It is rare for adults to catch the disease. Around 8 in every 100,000 children develop Kawasaki disease in the UK each year.

According to the NHS, the symptoms include the following:

  • A high temperature which lasts for five days or more
  • A rash
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Red fingers or toes
  • Red eyes

It’s not known what causes Kawasaki Disease, but it’s thought that it may be genetic, with a child more likely to develop the illness if they have inherited certain genes from their parents.

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