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China winds could carry childhood disease to Japan: study

Published on May 20, 2014 3:48 AM
 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The cause of the mysterious childhood disease, Kawasaki syndrome, could be an airborne toxin that is blown into Japan from northeast China and may be linked to farming, researchers said Monday.

Kawasaki disease causes fever, rash, peeling fingernails and in about 25 per cent of cases it can also lead to coronary aneurysm, a life-threatening ballooning of arteries that supply the heart.

While its cause has eluded researchers ever since the disease was first identified in 1967, scientists noticed it tended to affect children in Japan at certain times of the year.

"There are certainly other source regions around the globe, but focusing on the link between northeastern China, Japan, Hawaii, and the west coast of North America is our best bet for figuring this out," said lead author Jane Burns, professor and director of the Kawasaki Disease Research Centre at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

 
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