26 January is International Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day: a day dedicated to promoting Kawasaki Disease, understanding its symptoms and driving the urgent need for early diagnosis to save children’s hearts
Kawasaki Disease primarily affects young children at disease onset, though it can affect people at any age. The impacts of Kawasaki Disease for many are lifelong, as very high rates of cardiac complication can occur. A recent UK British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) Survey (2013-15) showed that 28% of children in the UK in the study had cardiac complications and 24% suffered from coronary artery aneurysms.
On International Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day, Societi, the UK Foundation for Kawasaki Disease, is jointly running a social media campaign with Kawasaki Disease Canada to #ShowUsYourHeart and #THINK_Kawasakidisease.
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of WHF member the British Heart Foundation, says: “Kawasaki Disease is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children in the western world. It can leave a legacy of permanent damage, which can be prevented through higher levels of awareness, early diagnosis and timely treatment.”
“Low levels of awareness about Kawasaki Disease across the UK mean more and more children each year are affected and have long term heart problems. We know that with increased awareness and early diagnosis, we can reduce the chances of lifelong heart damage in children. I hope International Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day on the 26th January is our first step in heightening awareness about this dangerous condition.”
Professor Robert Tulloh, the UK’s leading paediatric cardiologist in Kawasaki Disease and Board Member of Societi says: “Raising awareness is critical. We need to act now to reduce the rapidly growing health burden of this disease for so many children and young people. With its rising incidence, more children each year are affected by Kawasaki Disease and many have long term heart problems, which could be prevented now.”
THINK Kawasaki Disease – and save a child’s heart
“International Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day is a critical milestone on our calendar”, comments Elizabeth Heald, President and Co-founder of Kawasaki Disease Canada. “We know that with increased awareness and early diagnosis, we can reduce the chances of lifelong heart damage in children from 25% to less than 5%. In Canada, that means over 100 children’s hearts can be saved every year. We think that is a lot of hearts.”