Kawasaki Disease Caused By Mysterious Virus?

Victor Johnson - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 11:41 p.m. ET

Anne Rowley, professor of pediatrics and immunology/microbiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has isolated antibodies from immune cells found in the coronary arteries of children who passed away after finding themselves afflicted with Kawasaki Disease. After synthesizing and incubating the antibodies with the deceased children’s tissues, Rowley discovered that the antibodies bound to inclusion bodies in the respiratory tract which is on par with bacterial and viral respiratory pathogens which make similar inclusion bodies in the bronchial epithelium.

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After examining the inclusion bodies under an electron microscopy, particles which were rod and spherical in shape were discovered in close proximity. The particles were similar in appearance to known viruses. When this evidence is taken into account alongside the lack of bacteria, it seems there is potential that Rowley may have discovered a new family of virus. She was quoted by Scientific American as having said:

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“If you kind of put all that together you end up concluding that features are not compatible with any known virus family. So we suspect that it would represent a new virus family and we think that that’s why it’s been so difficult to identity the causative agent.”

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Kawasaki Disease results in an inflammation of the coronary arteries which has the potential to be fatal. Rash is common with those afflicted by the disease.

Washing University in St. Louis, MO has their viral genomics discovery group working on assembling the longest possible gene sequence which is prevalent amongst deceased patients who were diagnosed with KD in order to test KD patients who are currently living in an attempt to find out if the sequence will turn up in living patients.

At this time, there is little concrete information available from which logical conclusions can be derived. It is possible that there is not one, but two different viruses at work. Then again, there could be an alternative explanation as to the cause of Kawasaki Disease.


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