Alison wasn\u2019t that worried when her 21-month old daughter Andrea started having a low grade fever of around 38.5\u00b0C on January 9 last year.\u00a0 But by the next day, when the fever shot up to 41\u00b0C, Alison became alarmed.\r\n\r\n\u201cAndrea was cranky all day and refused food and drinks,\u201d recounts the mother. \u201cSo I rushed her to the paediatrician near my house who diagnosed the illness as nothing more than a viral fever.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe doctor did, however, advise Alison to send Andrea for a blood test for Dengue if the fever persisted beyond five days but as Alison recalls, \u201cthere was no mention of Kawasaki Disease (KD) and we were not told to look out for its symptoms\u201d.\r\n\r\nAlison then brought Andrea home thinking fever medicine would be enough to bring down a viral fever.\r\n\r\nBy January 11, however, rashes had spread all over Andrea\u2019s body.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cThe fever was inconsistent though,\u201d recalls Alison. \u201cIt subsided after every dose of medicine so we didn\u2019t think it was anything serious. We thought the rashes would have to run its course before recovery could take place. Besides, Andrea was active and playing around despite being unwell and having no appetite, although there were also many cranky moments in between.\u201d\r\n\r\nOn January 12, with Andrea still refusing food and drink and showing increasing difficulty at taking her meds, Alison decided to take her daughter to her regular hospital paediatrician.\r\n\r\nUpon consultation, the doctor said it was likely to be KD as Andrea was showing four of the six symptoms: fever, rashes, a red \u201cstrawberry\u201d tongue and bloodshot eyes.\r\n\r\nThe little girl underwent a blood test and it was confirmed that she had Kawasaki Disease.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe knew nothing of this disease and were naturally scared when we heard its name. We were told that Andrea would need to go through Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and would require eight vials to be completed within 24 hours.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nhe thing about KD is that no one knows much about it except that it is a serious disease discovered by Japanese paediatrician Tomisaku Kawasaki back in 1967. According to the Kawasaki Disease Foundation which strives to create awareness for this little-known disease through the commemoration of Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day on every January 26, KD primarily affects young children under the age of five, and is more prevalent among children of Asian and Pacific Island descent, although the disease also affects all racial and ethnic groups.\r\n\r\nThe real danger of KD is that apart from the prolonged fever, redness and swelling, it can also affect the child\u2019s heart if not caught in time.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMotherhood turns to Dr Liew Pei Sze,\u00a0Consultant Pediatrician\u00a0from ParkCity Medical Centre to find out more:\r\n\r\n \tQ1: What is the cause of KD, how prevalent is it in Malaysia and what age children are most susceptible? Is it transmittable to other children?\r\n\r\nDr Liew: The cause of KD is unknown. It\u00a0is possibly\u00a0triggered by infection in genetically susceptible children. There is no prevalence data available in Malaysia and it is not a transmittable disease.\r\n\r\n \tQ2: What are the symptoms? How will parents be able to discern KD from say, a normal fever?\r\n\r\nDr Liew: \r\n\r\n1.First phase\r\n\r\nHigh fever lasts more than five days , red eyes without discharge, red and cracked\u00a0 lips, red and strawberry-like tongue, \u00a0red and swollen hands and feet, body or genital rashes, swollen neck lymph nodes and\u00a0 irritability or poor appetite.\r\n\r\n2.Second phase\r\n\r\nSkin peeling on hands and feet, diarrhoea, vomiting or abdominal pain.\r\n\r\n3.Third phase\r\n\r\nAll signs and symptoms start to disappear unless complications develop. It may take up to eight weeks for child\u2019s energy level to get back to normal.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \tQ3: How dangerous is KD? Is it fatal? \r\n\r\nDr Liew: KD can be fatal in about 1-2% of the affected children even with treatment.\r\n\r\n \tQ4: Can the disease be cured and what are the long term effects?\u00a0\r\n\r\nDr Liew: Yes, it can be cured. Treatment started within 10 days from onset of the disease will greatly reduce the chance of long-term heart complications.\r\n\r\nKD is the main cause of acquired heart disease in children. It can cause inflammation to vessels (coronary arteries) that supply blood to the heart, which may lead to the formation of aneurysm (vessel with widened and weak wall). The aneurysm can potentially lead to a heart attack or severe internal bleeding.\r\n\r\n \tQ5: What is the course of treatment? How long would it take? Can it be prevented or inoculated\u00a0against?\u00a0\r\n\r\nDr Liew: The main treatment is Immunoglobulin\u00a0which is administered via a drip through a vein. In addition, oral aspirin is also given to reduce inflammation initially, and later to prevent blood clot formation. \u00a0At present, there is no way to prevent it.\r\n\r\n \tQ6: What is your advice to parents?\r\n\r\nDr Liew: Look for a paediatrician in a hospital for further investigation in any children with persistent high fever (T > 38.5\u00b0 C) for five days or more. Those with any symptoms described in the first phase (under question 2) with high fever more than three days should seek a paediatrician earlier.