The effect of Kawasaki disease on childhood allergies - a sibling control study

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Aug;22(5):488-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01149.x. Epub 2011 Mar 29.


Objective: Kawasaki disease (KD) is a multisystem inflammatory vasculitis of childhood, with widespread T-helper cell type 1 immune activation. We hypothesize that children who suffered from KD will have a lower risk of developing allergic diseases.

Study design: This was a cross-sectional study, recruiting children with a history of KD, together with well sibling controls. All children underwent the standardized core ISAAC questionnaire for allergy, physical examination and skin prick test evaluation. McNemar's test was employed to evaluate the effect of Kawasaki disease on allergy. Multivariable analysis based on mixed-effects logistic regression model was used to adjust for potential confounding effect of age and gender.

Results: One hundred and eighty-six children (93 KD sibling pairs) completed the above evaluation. Allergic rhinitis was more common in patients with KD (crude OR 2.40; 95% CI 1.11-5.62, p=0.024) when compared with controls. The effect was further intensified after accounting for the potential confounding effect of age and gender (adjusted OR=2.90; 95% CI 1.27-6.60). Children in whom KD occurred beyond the age of 12 months had more allergic rhinitis (crude OR 4.00, 95% CI 1.29-16.44, p=0.012), 'any' allergies (crude OR 3.75, 95% CI 1.19-15.52, p=0.019) and Blomia tropicalis sensitization (crude OR 2.57, 95% CI 1.02-7.28, p=0.043) when compared with their sibling controls. Interestingly, children in whom KD course resulted in no coronary artery abnormalities have more allergic rhinitis (crude OR 8.50, 95% CI 2.02-75.85, p=0.003) and 'any' allergies (crude OR 5.00, 95% CI 1.41-26.94, p=0.011), when compared with their sibling controls.

Conclusion: Kawasaki disease may be a risk factor for subsequent allergic diseases. We postulate that KD occurs more frequently in children at risk of immune disequilibrium, with an abnormal inflammatory response initially, and subsequently more allergic manifestations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology*
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / complications*
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Siblings*