Epidemiol Infect 2016 Feb 23;144(3):478-92. Epub 2015 Jul 23.
Institute of Industrial Science,the University of Tokyo,Komaba,Meguro,Tokyo,Japan.
Although Kawasaki disease (KD), which was first reported in the 1960s, is assumed to be infectious, its aetiological agent(s) remains unknown. We compared the geographical distribution of the force of infection and the super-annual periodicity of KD and seven other paediatric infectious diseases in Japan. The geographical distribution of the force of infection, which was estimated as the inverse of the mean patient age, was similar in KD and other paediatric viral infections. This similarity was due to the fact that the force of infection was determined largely by the total fertility rate. This finding suggests that KD shares a transmission route, i.e. sibling-to-sibling infection, with other paediatric infections. The super-annual periodicity, which is positively associated with the sum of an infectious disease's incubation period and infectious period, was much longer for KD and exanthema subitum than other paediatric infectious diseases. The virus for exanthema subitum is known to persist across the host's lifespan, which suggests that the aetiological agent for KD may also be capable of persistent infection. Taken together, these findings suggest that the aetiological agent for KD is transmitted through close contact and persists asymptomatically in most hosts.