The number one reason a healthy child develops heart disease is a condition called Kawasaki disease. While Kawasaki disease is not common in children, it’s becoming more common all the time.
A study published in the June 15, 2002 issue of the British Medical Journal found that the incidence of Kawasaki disease had more than doubled over the previous ten years. Thankfully, the heart complications of Kawasaki disease often can be prevented. The key is early diagnosis and treatment.
These children usually have a high fever (unresponsive to antibiotics) that lasts longer than five days. They may also swollen glands, a rash, red eyes, red throat, red tongue, dry or red lips, or swollen or red hands or feet. Or they might not.
Any child with a prolonged fever should be carefully evaluated with Kawasaki disease in mind.