Recognizing signs of Kawasaki disease

Seventeen-month-old Evan is Natalie Poon's third son. So when he wouldn't stop being cranky his first few weeks of life, she knew something was very wrong.

"He wouldn't sleep at night and he was crying constantly. He had a little bit of a fever," said Poon.

Doctors suspected various illnesses including measles, mono and meningitis. Finally at 2 months old, a severe symptom landed Evan in the ER.

"His eyelids were so swollen and so red he couldn't open his eyes at all," said Poon.

He was diagnosed with Kawasaki Syndrome, which is a disease that affects mostly young children. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Wilbert Mason is a leading expert and he says there are many symptoms to look for.

"Besides the fever, you'll see red eyes, red lips and mouth, a rash, swelling of the the hands and feet, and swelling of lymph nodes of the neck," said Dr. Mason.

The cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown. Researchers suspect it may be genetic in nature or it may be caused by a virus.

Dr. Mason says the disease usually disappears after one severe episode. Treatment involves aspirin and a mix of purified antibodies called gamma globulin.

"And instantaneously he went from incredibly cranky and crying non stop, and seeming very uncomfortable, back to his regular self," said Poon.

The worst complication is the development of coronary aneurysms that could lead to clotting and early heart disease.

Evan had already developed them. Natalie hopes other parents will learn to recognize the signs early.

"I always think if we had diagnosed it a little bit earlier we could of potentially avoided having the aneurysms, which are the most troublesome effects of Kawasaki's," said Poon.

Evan will continue to be monitored regularly by a pediatric cardiologist. Dr. Mason says most kids that have Kawasaki disease live a normal lifespan.

He adds there is no known connection between Kawasaki Syndrome and seizures, which is listed as the cause of death in Jett Travolta's case.



Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.