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Doctors See Increase Of Uncommon Childhood Disease In San Diego

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Aired 3/23/10

Doctors at Rady Children's Hospital say they're seeing an unusually high number of kids with Kawasaki disease. The condition involves inflammation of the blood vessels, and can affect the heart.

— Doctors at Rady Children's Hospital say they're seeing an unusually high number of kids with Kawasaki disease. The condition involves inflammation of the blood vessels, and can affect the heart.

Since the middle of February, doctors at Rady Children's Hospital have diagnosed 17 kids with Kawasaki disease. The hospital usually sees only about two or three cases a month.

The principal signs are a fever that lasts longer than five days, and swollen hands and feet.

Dr. Jane Burns is a professor of pediatrics at UCSD. She says most pediatricians are trained to recognize the disease.

"However, we have had many patients referred to us when a characteristic type of peeling begins on the fingertips and toes," Burns says. "And that is really too late to be making the diagnosis."

Burns says with proper treatment, most children with Kawasaki disease recover fully.

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