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Rising incidence of Kawasaki disease in England: analysis of hospital admission data

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 15 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1424
  1. Anthony Harnden (, university lecturera,
  2. Bernadette Alves, health services researcherb,
  3. Aziz Sheikh, NHS research and development national primary care training fellowb
  1. a Department of Primary Health Care, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF
  2. b Department of Primary Health Care, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London W2 1PG
  1. Correspondence to: A Harnden
  • Accepted 6 December 2001

Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the developed world and may be a risk factor for adult ischaemic heart disease.1 A fifth of untreated children develop cardiac lesions during the acute phase of the disease. The cause remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies support an infectious agent inducing the disease in a genetically susceptible minority. Superantigen toxins have been implicated. Reported incidence rates differ considerably throughout the developed world with rates in Japan 10 times those in the United States and 30 times those in the United Kingdom and Australia.24 Hospital surveillance data suggest the incidence of Kawasaki disease in Japan has risen by over 50% between 1987 and 1998.2 To ascertain whether there had been a similar rise in England, we …

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