Kawasaki disease: The potentially fatal condition that parents 'need to know about'

A mum from Caerphilly whose baby spent more than a week in hospital with an illness that doctors could not diagnose is warning parents to look out for symptoms of Kawasaki disease.

Kady-Laura Alldis' 11-week-old son displayed unusual symptoms for several days before he was taken by ambulance to the emergency department at Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

It took five days for medical professionals to diagnose Rowan with Kawasaki disease.

Rowan had stopped waking up for his bottle-feed. Credit: Kady-Laura Alldis

Ms Alldis and her partner James believed their son had contracted meningitis.

"He was getting worse as each day passed and [doctors] couldn't understand why.

"He had head scans, heart scans, regular bloods taken and urine samples."

When doctors finally identified the illness and he was treated with the right medication, Rowan's rash had completely cleared and he was discharged from hospital.

Rowan still receives medication and will continue to be monitored to ensure he isn't affected long-term. Credit: Kady-Laura Alldis
  • What is Kawasaki disease?

It is a disease that mainly affects children under the age of five-years-old. It is also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome.

Symptoms of the condition include a rash, swollen glands in the neck, dry, cracked lips and red eyes.

  • How serious is it?

Kawasaki disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease - which develops after birth - in the UK.

Children with the disease can make a full recovery within six to eight weeks if it is diagnosed and treated promptly.

Inflamation and swelling in the coronary arteries can develop if it is left untreated, and can be fatal in around 2-3 per cent of cases.

  • How common is the condition?

It affects around eight in 100,000 children in the UK every year.

The condition has been found as 1.5 times more common in girls than in boys.

  • When should I see a GP?

The NHS advises that parents should see a GP urgently, or call 111, if their child is showing signs of Kawasaki disease.

If the baby is younger than six months old, the NHS says it is even more vital that action is taken immediately.