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Korean J Epidemiol. 1998 Dec;20(2):288-318. Korean. Original Article.
Kim JS , Choi JI .
Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Korea.

Kawasaki disease that had been identified and reported as a new syndrome complex by a Japanese pediatrician Kawasaki in 1967 still remains as a disease of unknown etiology despite the enormous research efforts throughout the world. We conducted this literature review study with an attempt to formulate causal gypothesis on Kawasaki disease based on research findings published. Summarizing the research results in terms of clinical, pathologic and epidemiologic characteristics we could characterize the causative agent as followings: (1) The agent should have high infectivity and low pathogenicity causing generalized infection, perhaps with more frequent inapparent infection than apparent infection, particularly among immunocompromized, feeble children by preceded infection, (2) The target organ of the agent seems to be endothelial cells of arteries, (3) The agent appears to take airborne transmission route in very special environment where the agent can be supplied by reservoirs other than human beings, and (4) the agent should be quite ubiquitous around human living environment resulting in high herd immunity among adult population. For the time being we propose Coxiella burneti as a possible causative agent that could satisfy the most of the above characteristics.

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