Background: Kawasaki syndrome (KS) is a leading cause of acquired heart disease among US children, but the epidemiologic features of KS among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children have not been described.
Methods: We examined Indian Health Service computerized records of hospital discharges for AI/AN children <18 years of age with KS during 1980 through 1995.
Results: During 1980 through 1995, 85 AI/AN children were reported with a hospitalization for KS; 10 of the children had an additional KS hospitalization record within 5 months. The average annual KS hospitalization rate for children <5 years of age, based on first KS hospitalization only, was 4.3 cases per 100000 children; the rate for children age <1 year (n = 21) was 8.6 per 100000 and for children ages 1 to 4 years was 3.6 per 100000. The annual rates for children < 5 years of age ranged from 0 to 8.5 per 100000 children. KS hospitalizations for children peaked in January and February; 50.6% of the children were hospitalized during January through April. The overall median length of hospital stay was 4 days (range, 1 to 29 days); the median duration decreased from 8 days from 1980 through 1982 to 4 days from 1993 through 1995.
Conclusions: The overall annual hospitalization rate of KS among AI/AN children <5 years of age was slightly lower than rates for several majority white populations in the United States. (4.6 to 15.2 cases per 100000) and much lower than rates for blacks and Asians/Pacific Islanders.