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Kawasaki disease

An unusual, acute illness of unknown cause that most frequently affects children under the age of two. The disease is characterised by a fever lasting one to two weeks; dryness and cracking of lips; conjunctivitis; swollen lymph nodes in the neck; reddening of soles and palms; and a generalised rash. At the end of the second week of illness, the skin at the tips of fingers and toes peels and the other symptoms cease. The coronary arteries and heart muscle are affected in certain cases.

High level doses of gamma-globulin and aspirin can be administered in order to stop and associated heart problems. On the whole, the majority of children make a full recovery.

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