Kawasaki Disease Rates Dropped During COVID-19 Pandemic
A study published by the Jama Network Open Pediatrics found that cases of Kawasaki disease (KD) in the United States dropped by 28% during the Covid-19 shelter in place orders. The decrease in ambient air pollution, masking and school closures, and reduced circulation of respiratory viruses are credited for the drop in KD cases. The cases remained low throughout that period and started to increase in the Spring of 2021, coinciding with the lifting of mask mandates and school re-openings across the county.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, and other partners across the United States. The team tracked rates of Kawasaki disease before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The findings suggest that social behavior affects exposure to the agent(s) that trigger KD and are consistent with a respiratory portal of entry. “Kawasaki disease may be caused by a virus, a pollutant, a microbial aerosol or all of the above,” said Jane C. Burns, MD, director of the Kawasaki Disease Research Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine and pediatrician at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. “The fact that the pandemic affected each age group differently supports the idea that there are multiple triggers of KD, and different children develop the disease after exposure to different ones.”
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