4-Month-Old Singapore baby comes down with Kawasaki disease
"I hope this little effort can bring awareness of this fatal disease because there are parents who have lost their child to this disease..."
Did you know that there are over 200 cases of Kawasaki Disease in Singapore every year? Recently, a Singapore mum took to Facebook to create awareness on the symptoms of Kawasaki Disease in babies after her 4-month-old baby came down with the illness.
"I hope this little effort can bring awareness of this fatal disease because there are parents who have lost their child to this disease", she says.
Singapore mum Michaela Michael Swee recently shared about how her then 4-month-old daughter, Germaine, fell sick with Kawasaki Disease...
"When Germaine was almost 4 months old she had onset of low grade fever of 37.5 degrees on 30 Sept 2018. We thought it was normal for babies to have low grade fever", she writes.
"She was still cheerful however until the 3rd day of fever, she started to get moody and she had spiking temperature as high as 38.5degree. At that point of time she had hives like rashes spreading around one side of her lower abdomen. She was unusually cranky."
The worried parents took Germaine to a paediatrician, who diagnosed her with Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and prescribed antibiotics and paracetamol.
However, even after a day of medication and sponging, there was no improvement in Germaine's condition.
"Despite a day of medication and tepid sponging her fever did not subside and even went as high as 39.5 degree with the rashes looking worst."
"Aside from them, she started to have conjunctivitis, puffy hands and reddish lips. Her milk intake dropped drastically to almost less than 50% of her usual."
Germaine was rushed to KK Women's and Children's Hospital A&E. Doctors suspected that the baby was either having measles, or she had come down with Kawasaki Disease.
Since measles is highly contagious, they admitted her to isolation ward. Several blood tests and swabs were also done.
Finally, experts concluded that the baby had indeed come down with Kawasaki Disease.
Kawasaki disease is an illness that affects the blood vessels. It often affects the skin, mouth, and lymph nodes, and is most common in kids under the age of five. The cause is unknown, but a viral infection probably triggers it. If parents or medical professionals recognise the symptoms early, children with Kawasaki disease can fully recover within a few days.
If left untreated though, it can lead to serious complications that can affect the heart. That’s because Kawasaki disease can harm the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart muscle. The doctor will usually monitor the child for heart problems for a few weeks to a few months after treatment.
Kawasaki disease is not contagious.
Symptoms of Kawasaki disease include:
- A high fever (as high as 39-40 °C) lasting at least five days
- Red eyes
- A body rash, especially on the stomach, chest, and genitals
- Sore irritated throat
- Swollen, red, cracked lips
- Swollen tongue with a white coating and big red bumps (called “strawberry tongue”)
- BCG scar may be prominent
- Swollen, red feet and hands
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Most children who have Kawasaki disease get better and have no long-term problems. However, early detection and treatment is critical, because it shortens the illness and lowers the chances of heart problems.
Heart problems usually won’t develop if Kawasaki disease is treated within 10 days of the start of symptoms.
The diagnosis of Kawasaki disease is not straightforward, and a single test might not be enough. If doctors suspect Kawasaki disease, they may order tests to monitor heart function (such as an echocardiogram). They might also take blood and urine samples to rule out other conditions.
Treatment of Kawasaki should begin within 10 days after a fever starts, to avoid cardiovascular complications.
One type of treatment is done by administering intravenous (IV) doses of gamma globulin (purified antibodies) (IVIG), which is a blood component essential to fighting infection.
Another treatment involves giving high doses of Aspirin (or low doses over a prolonged period of time) to lessen the risk of heart complications.
In Germaine's case, mummy Michaela reveals that, she received her IVIG transfusion on the 5th day of onset of the disease.
"The transfusion was 10 hours long with frequent monitoring but so thankful her symptoms went off gradually and she appeared to be more cheerful and slept well", says Michaela.
The baby was discharged after she remained afebrile (not feverish) for 24 hours after the transfusion. However, she needed to be on 3 months of low dose aspirin. In January 2019, the cardiologist gave Michaela that good news that Germaine no longer needed to have aspirin.
Lastly, this mummy is thankful that her baby is now doing fine.
She writes, "It may sound like a series of unfortunate events but I am thankful my little one is treated. Thank God for the “mother instinct” to bring her to the hospital."
Here's wishing this baby happiness and good health.