Kawasaki Disease Wafts to Japan on the Wind

Air from China brings a major cause of childhood heart disease to Japan, study finds.

The agent of Kawasaki disease, a potentially fatal illness in children, floats into Japan on seasonal winds from northeastern China, according to a report published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The pathogens responsible for the disease enter through mucous membranes and work their way into the arteries of young children. After the initial symptoms—including fever, rash, bloodshot eyes, and swollen hands and feet—subside, the disease leaves behind cardiac effects that can lead to heart disease and even death years later.(Related: "The Disease, My Friend, Is Blowing in the Wind.")

More than 40 years after KD was discovered, there is still no diagnostic test for the disease, and the pathogen that causes

DON'T MISS THE REST OF THIS STORY!
Create a free account to continue and get unlimited access to hundreds of Nat Geo articles, plus newsletters.

Create your free account to continue reading

No credit card required. Unlimited access to free content.
Or get a Premium Subscription to access the best of Nat Geo - just $19
SUBSCRIBE

Read This Next

Did this mysterious human relative bury its dead?
This new birth control for cats doesn't require surgery
How the Zoot Suit Riots changed America

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet