Late last week the internet went viral over a mysterious disease that might be spread by wind. The Kawasaki disease gives awkward symptoms such as a strawberry tongue and since the first report of such a case in 1960, its incidence has increased. Some scientists are worried that the wind might be at blame, as it carries the infectious microbes from Japan to California.
The Kawasaki disease is one of the many health conditions that baffle scientists today. This health condition is mostly linked with outbreaks in Japan but over the few years the incidence of cases has increased worldwide. The disease impacts children younger than 5 and it can even lead to heart attacks.
At the moment, scientists don’t know that much about it. The first report of the Kawasaki disease comes from a Japanese scientist in the 1960s. The scientist kept detailed notes of the disease’s particular symptoms, from the strawberry tongue to the high fever and bloodshot eyes.
Since the 1967 report, in Japan there have been three dramatic outbreaks in 1979, 1982 and 1986. At the moment data points out there are about 12,000 cases in Japan, and scientists say the incidence of cases in United States has increased lately. At the moment, numbers say there are 80 to 100 new Kawasaki disease cases a year.
Journal Nature has covered the matter in an article published April 4, which went viral. The reason might be a little frightening: researchers have hypothesis that point out Kawasaki disease to be a virus that spreads through natural means over the oceans thanks to winds. Dr. Jane C. Burns is the lead researcher on the study that promotes the hypothesis that Kawasaki is in fact a virus moved around by winds. She said:
“If the winds blow in one direction, there is Kawasaki; if winds blow in the other, there is no Kawasaki. It’s very dramatic”. Plus, in Japan at least, the situation might be more significant that thought. As Burns explains the disease’s “damage can be completely silent for decades until it’s not. And the presentation can be with a massive heart attack in these young adults, who just have no idea why this is happening to them”.