Kawasaki Disease & Coronavirus (NL63)

Kawasaki Disease & Coronavirus (HCoV-NL63)

We’ve learned that some of our community members have expressed concerns about a past coronavirus and Kawasaki disease. Some of you may recall several years ago researchers, Esper et al.’s announced a link between a different coronavirus (HCoV-NL63) and KD (source 1).

The study identified 53 children who had received a diagnosis of KD between October 2001 and April 2004. Of the 11 children studied, 10 met the criteria for classic KD, of whom 8 tested positive for HCoV-Nl63. The human coronavirus HCoV-NL63 or the “New Haven coronavirus” was detected in patients suffering from respiratory disease, with a frequency of up to 7% in January 2003 (source 2). HCoV infections may account for ≈35% of common colds in adults and ≈2% of influenza-like illnesses in patients of all age groups consulting their general physician (source 3).

The study suggesting an association between the “New Haven coronavirus” and Kawasaki disease was subsequently debunked. In fact, a study conducted by Dr. Jane C. Burns from the University of California San Diego, and other researchers, concluded that there was no association between the detection of HCoV-NL63 genome in the respiratory tract and acute KD. This was found after the study tested a total of 57 samples from 48 KD patients and found that only one of the 48 KD patients (2%) was positive for HCoV-NL63.

“This patient met 4 of 5 classic clinical criteria for KD, but also exhibited symptoms of an upper respiratory
tract infection, with cough and coryza which are rare symptoms for KD but common symptoms for HCoV-NL63 infection. Furthermore, although this patient responded with complete defervescence after administration of intravenous gamma globulin and aspirin that are common treatments for KD, his respiratory symptoms persisted. These results suggest that this KD patient was likely co-infected with HCoV-NL63 (source 4).”

An additional study found that the results suggested by Esper et al.’s may be coincidental and that HCoV-NH did not play a dominant role in the etiology or pathogenesis of KD (source 5).

Sources Cited:

  1. Esper, Frank, Shapiro, D., E., Weibel, Carla, … S., J. (2005, February 15). Association between a Novel Human Coronavirus and Kawasaki Disease. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/191/4/499/937208
  2. Hoek, L. van der, Pyrc, K., Jebbink, M. F., Vermeulen-Oost, W., Berkhout, R. J. M., Wolthers, K. C., … Berkhout, B. (2004, March 21). Identification of a new human coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nm1024
  3. Fouchier, R. A. M., Hartwig, N. G., Bestebroer, T. M., Niemeyer, B., Jong, J. C. de, Simon, J. H., & Osterhaus, A. D. M. E. (2004, April 20). A previously undescribed coronavirus associated with respiratory disease in humans. Retrieved from https://www.pnas.org/content/101/16/6212.full
  4. Baker, S. C., Shimizu, C., Shike, H., Garcia, F., Hoek, L. van der, Kuijper, T. W., Burns, J. C. (2006, January 1). Human Coronavirus-NL63 Infection is not Associated with Acute Kawasaki Disease. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-0-387-33012-9_94
  5. Ebihara, Takashi, Endo, Rika, Xiaoming, Ishiguro, … Hideaki. (2005, July 15). Lack of Association between New Haven Coronavirus and Kawasaki Disease. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/192/2/351/858642