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Incidence of Kawasaki Syndrome on the rise

Staff Reporter
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An acute self-limiting inflammatory disease of blood vessels

Calling attention: T.U. Sukumaran, national president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, inaugurates a summit on Kawasaki Syndrome at Mannar, near Parumala, on Sunday. — Photo: Leju Kamal
Calling attention: T.U. Sukumaran, national president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, inaugurates a summit on Kawasaki Syndrome at Mannar, near Parumala, on Sunday. — Photo: Leju Kamal

: The State's first summit on Kawasaki Syndrome was held at Mannar, near Parumala, on Sunday.

T.U. Sukumaran, national president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, inaugurated the summit, organised by the Chennai-based Dr. K.M. Cherian Foundation.

Dr. Sukumaran said Kawasaki Syndrome was an acute self-limiting inflammatory disease of the blood vessels, especially coronary blood vessel with unknown etiology, presented as rashes, redness of eye, mouth, lymph node enlargement, swelling of hands and coronary dilatation. If not treated with immunoglobulin and aspirin, 20 to 24 per cent of the affected persons would develop coronary artery dilatation, eventually leading to heart attack in small children, he added.

Presiding over the inaugural function, Saji Philip, organising secretary, said Kawasaki Syndrome was first described by Tomisaku Kawasaki in Japan in 1967. Reports published in international journals show that the prevalence of the disease has been on the rise in almost all countries since the past four decades.

According to him, the disease is more prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region. Kawasaki Syndrome is reported to be the most common cause of acquired heart disease in the U.S. and Japan.

There was a general consensus among physicians that the number of diagnosed cases of Kawasaki Syndrome was on the rise in India.

‘Often misclassified'

Many physicians were of the opinion that increased awareness on the syndrome had led to reporting of more cases, which otherwise had been misclassified as drug reactions or viral and bacterial toxin-related illness. Often the overlapping picture of measles is found to have misguided the physicians and paediatricians in the diagnosis of Kawasaki Syndrome.

Males are more affected and 80 per cent of the affected persons were found to be less than five years of age. Morbidity and mortality from Kawasaki Syndrome was often found to have been due to Cardiac Sequelae, Dr. Saji said.

Dr. Sukumaran said efforts should continue to increase physician awareness and encourage research on the characterisation of Kawasaki Syndrome in India with emphasis on possible differences in clinical presentation, disease course, and outcome in children.

One impediment to the evaluation and treatment of cardiovascular sequelae in the affected children is shortage of paediatric cardiologists to perform echo cardiographic imaging of the coronary arteries.

Paediatric valvular diseases and management issues were discussed in the afternoon session. Edwin Francis from the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi; Rajan Joseph Manjooran, medical director of Puhspagiri Heart Institute, Thiruvalla; Jayakumar from the Kottayam Medical College; and Pankajkumar Srivastava attached to the K.M. Cherian Foundation presented scientific papers on acute rheumatic fever, complications as well as medical and surgical management of the disease in children.

H.C. Lue from National Hospital in Taiwan, Noel Narayanan, Zulfikar Ahamed, Lulu Mathew, Savitha and Sushamma Bhai, leading pediatricians attached to various government and private medical colleges in the State, also presented papers at the technical session.

The official website of Kawasaki Disease Foundation of India (KDFI), www.kawasakidiseaseindia.org, was also launched at summit.

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