BACKGROUND:

The diagnosis of Kawasaki disease (KD) remains challenging without a definitive diagnostic test and currently is guided by using clinical patient characteristics and supported by laboratory data. The role of respiratory viruses in the pathogenesis of KD is not fully understood.

METHODS:

Charts of patients with KD admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado from January 2009 to May 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with KD who had a nasopharyngeal wash submitted for multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) viral testing were included. Clinical characteristics, laboratory data, and outcomes of patients with and without positive respiratory viral PCR results were compared.

RESULTS:

Of 222 patients with KD admitted to the hospital, 192 (86%) had a respiratory viral PCR test performed on or shortly after admission. Ninety-three (41.9%) of the 192 patients with KD had a positive respiratory viral PCR, and the majority were positive for rhinovirus/enterovirus. No statistically significant differences were found in the clinical characteristics and laboratory values between the groups with and without positive respiratory viral PCR findings. Both groups had the same frequency of upper respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms and had the same incidence of admission to the PICU, intravenous immunoglobulin–resistant disease, and coronary artery lesions.

CONCLUSIONS:

No differences in clinical presentations or outcomes in children with KD stratified according to positive or negative respiratory viral PCR testing were observed. A positive respiratory viral PCR or presence of respiratory symptoms at the time of presentation should not be used to exclude a diagnosis of KD.

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