Cases of Kawasaki Disease in the US Decreased During Pandemic

Kawasaki Disease Child Hand
Kawasaki Disease Child Hand
The incidence of Kawasaki disease (KD) decreased during periods of COVID-19-related masking and school closure.

HealthDay News — The incidence of Kawasaki disease (KD) decreased during periods of COVID-19-related masking and school closure, according to a study published online June 17 in JAMA Network Open.

Jennifer A. Burney, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Diego, and colleagues examined the change in KD incidence across the United States in a multicenter study that included patients with KD who were diagnosed between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2020 (2,461 KD cases). In addition, a detailed analysis of KD patients diagnosed between Jan. 1, 2002, and Nov. 15, 2021, at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego (RCHSD) was conducted (1,461 cases).

The researchers observed a 28.2 percent decline in KD cases nationally during 2020 versus 2018 and 2019 (646 versus 894 and 905 cases, respectively), which was uneven across the United States. For RCHSD, the decline in KD cases in 2020 to 2021 compared with the mean number of cases in earlier years was disproportionate for children aged 1 to 5 years (22 versus 44.9), male children (21 versus 47.6), and Asian children (4 versus 11.8). There was no indication that shelter-in-place measures were associated with the number of KD cases. There was an overlapping to different extents seen for school closures, masking mandates, decreased ambient pollution, and decreased circulation of respiratory viruses with the period of decreased KD cases. In the spring of 2021, KD in San Diego rebounded, coincident with the lifting of mask mandates.

“The results presented here are consistent with a respiratory portal of entry for the trigger(s) of KD,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; a second author has a patent related to antigens and antibodies of Kawasaki disease pending.

Abstract/Full Text