Environmental Factors and Kawasaki Disease Onset in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Feb 27;17(5):1529. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17051529.


Kawasaki disease (KD)is an idiopathic acute febrile illness that primarily occurs in children <5 years of age and can lead to artery lesions if not promptly treated. Recent studies have shown possible correlations between KD onset and currents and air pollutants.The present study describes results on the correlation between environmental conditions, frequency, and variability ofKD onset in children under five years of age in Emilia-Romagna, a region of Northern Italy, over the period from 2000 to 2017. Since there are substantial climatic differences between the western-central (Emilia) and the eastern area (Romagna) of the region, the data for these areas are analyzed separately. The environmental factors considered are observed local surface daily temperature, daily precipitation, upper air wind regimes, and local air pollution. The results indicate that in Emilia-Romagna, KD onset occurs mainly during late autumn and early spring, which is in agreement with the literature. The frequency of KD onset in Emilia is significantly higher in months characterized by a high frequency of southerly flow, which is associated with milder than average night-time temperature, and in years with a prevailing south-westerly mean flow. These results are consistent with other studies, suggesting that certain wind conditions are more favorable for disease onset, which are possibly associated with one or more airborne agents.

Keywords: Kawasaki disease; air quality; environmental factors; meteorological parameter.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Seasons