Probably lots of people are well aware of Kawasaki as a motorcycle rather than a disease. Infact, this was how Dinesh Ghai responded when doctors informed that his 9 year old daughter, Utkarsha was suffering from the disease. The disease is named so as it is prevalent among Korean and Japanese children. 'I have heard of the motorcycle, but I never knew that Kawasaki was a disease,' remarked Dinesh Ghai.
Kawasaki disease commonly affects children under the age of 5 years is named so as it is more common in Japanese and Korean children. The exact cause of the disease is still unknown. It is characterized by fever for a prolonged period. Progressively there is inflammation of the eyes, tongue and lips, followed by peeling of skin of the feet and hands. The child fails to respond to the anti-biotic prescribed.
If left unattended, to the lymph nodes may get involved, followed by damage to coronary arteries that supply the heart. As it is a self-limiting disease, the symptoms subside if no treatment is instituted at an early stage. At the same time, a considerable damage to the heart can occur, resulting in death as a consequence of heart attack or other cardiac complications.
The relatively low level of awareness regarding the disease among doctors and general public, has forced the parents of children suffering from the disease to unite together in the formation of a support group for the same. Dr. Jane Burns belonging to the University of California is stationed at the capital, to spread awareness about the disease.
'We have seen 32 cases of the disease in the past two years and since it is difficult to diagnose, many cases go undetected,' said Dr Anupam Sibal, medical director, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
If detected early, the disease can be cured. However the treatment is expensive and involves administration of purified antibodies or gamma globulin through intravenous route. Vineeta Gupta, a member of the support group said that they had to spend nearly Rs. 1,00,000 for their son's treatment.
The support group will serve the public in the provision of authentic clinical information regarding the cause and cure of the disease. 'There are lot of doubts in a parent's mind regarding this. Will my child grow up to be of normal height? Will he be able to lead a normal life? Will he able to work hard for a living? With the support group, we hope to be able to help parents handle such situations,' said Neera Ghai, a member of the support group.