How to Spot Kawasaki Disease in Your Child

Doctors across the United States are seeing a rise in Kawasaki disease, a mysterious condition that primarily affects children under 5. The illness is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children worldwide but it is often unrecognized or misdiagnosed.

Kawasaki disease is rare, but cases are climbing in the United States. Here are the important things to know about Kawasaki disease.

What causes it?

No one knows. Kawasaki disease, also known as K.D., is one of the leading pediatric mysteries. Some scientists believe it results from an environmental exposure or that it occurs after a bacterial or viral infection. Certain genes appear to make some children more susceptible to it.

Whatever the cause, there was a lull in cases in the United States during the pandemic, suggesting that masking and social distancing measures might have helped protect children from exposure. Now, cases are climbing, hinting that many children are being exposed to the disease’s mysterious cause for the first time.

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