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Japan China Medicine

Mysterious Disease May Be Carried by the Wind 72

bmahersciwriter (2955569) writes "Kawasaki disease is a mysterious condition that results in alarming rashes, inflammation and sometimes early death. It sickens 12,000 children a year in Japan and is suspected to arrive there and elsewhere by the wind. Now, researchers have narrowed the source to croplands in northern China and offered some possible explanations as to its cause."
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Mysterious Disease May Be Carried by the Wind

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  • by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @06:14PM (#47041869)

    Travels by motorcycle.

    • I got the disease from playing a piano, you insensitive clod!

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      Travels by motorcycle.

      Abscess makes the fart go "Honda"! (Trust me, you don't want to hear the 5 minutes of rambling which leads to that punchline...)

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        Trust me, we have. In my instance, it was delivered by an Australian businessman in the middle of a training class. I was his tech support when he ran the class. I heard it every single time. That plus the joke which ends, "The Czech's in the male," will be fused into my consciousness until my dying day.

  • Stay inside (Score:3, Funny)

    by jonyen ( 2633919 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @06:18PM (#47041887)
    "Come now, young lad, stay out of the wind or you'll catch Kawasaki disease."

    "Aw...but I wanted to go fly my kite today!"
  • Traced? Perhaps. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by St.Creed ( 853824 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @06:30PM (#47041949)

    The closing comment was that, since the supposed origin would be frozen solid at the time the disease was supposed to originate there, the real origin of the disease is still as unknown as always. But they're now looking at bacterial toxin as the main culprit. Nice...

    I bet you could make a nice disastermovie about this, where it turns out that the GMO crops in India are the real culprits. Then, when they are sprayed with new insecticide, they combine with a new bacterium that integrates the GMO resistance genes, and spread a superplague that turns everyone into a Triffid.

    Weehee, I'm calling my agent :)

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Submit it here: []

    • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

      > But they're now looking at bacterial toxin as the main culprit.

      Well toxin anyway, without knowing what that toxin is and what is producing it, even to say it is bacterial is unknown. It could be a yeast, man made, or even a plant (pollen?). However, it does seem to be unlikely to come from an agricultural source with frozen ground.... maybe the ocean?

      That would be some mega-disaster fodder right there.... a worldwide bloom of toxic phytoplankton.....they gave us breath, now they have come to take it aw

      • That would be a great movie. But it would never get made - except to be released by Echo Bridge Entertainment or The Asylum. And the science isn't broken enough for either of them to take it.

        Only one man will know what to do. The discredited genius scientist. He will formulate a plan but be unable to do anything or get anyone to listen until the 11th hour.

    • Sounds like another SMON to me.

      Japan is wierd.

  • The Romans were onto something after all...
  • valley fever (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @06:31PM (#47041963)

    The article doesn't give a ton of detail, but it sounds a lot like the Valley Fever that occurs in the US South West. Which is Candida fungus if i remember correctly.

    • Disease of the desert dwellers: active in Arizona and West Texas intermittently.

      If it's not the same disease, [] it's a relative.

      • Hmm, I think that's what my mother had. I always thought it was tularemia, since both are called "valley fever" and the endemic areas overlap. But the occidioidomycosis symptoms match more closely.

        • And an article linked in TFA also notes that coccidioidomycosis would have a similar vector - and that outbreaks tend to peak after dust storms and ... earthquakes.

          So now we've got yet another Zombie Level problem to worry about. It's just not fair.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward


      not candida

    • Don't try to blame it on Candida, you hoser!

    • Yes this was my first thought. My mother and uncle both caught it as children, and it seems to be endemic in the particular area they were living (rural Tulare country). They were diagnosed because this was just about the time it was first being diagnosed and tests for it became common post WWII.

      Key points are that it causes rashes, inflammation, sometimes death, and can be spread from inhalation of fungal spores in dust that is blown around (though more commonly from ticks). Sounds a lot like this myste

    • So Frank Zappa [] is to blame? "Oh My God!" does it make you "Barf Out!?"

  • Hmm... that's pretty interesting. I hope they can find the source and I do hope that some kind of Chinese factory isn't the cause because that would make the relationship between the two countries worse. But on the otherhand the China's leaders have been pretty public about the environmental issues lately. If the cause is indeed in China (although the researchers in the article doubted this) there's a good chance that this might offer the kind of catalyst to make Japanese industries more invested in helping

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @06:43PM (#47042045) Journal
    It's Happening... the plants have finally recognized us for the enemy that we are.
  • Just saying. The whole Nanking unpleasantness, now Kawasaki's disease.

    Can't we all get along?

  • by stevel ( 64802 ) * on Monday May 19, 2014 @09:39PM (#47043067) Homepage

    My son contracted Kawasaki Disease in 1987 when he was 4. It was a terrifying experience as the doctors could not explain what was causing his symptoms, including a fever of 104. The poor kid underwent spinal taps and more. Eventually he was transferred to Boston Floating Hospital for Children where they concluded he had Kawasaki. There was no test for it - it's one of those "process of elimination" diagnoses and not all who have KD have all of the symptoms. At that time, there was no known cure but my son was enrolled in a random trial of gamma globulin infusion and, thankfully, the dosage he was assigned turned out to be the one that worked the best. He recovered and tests showed no lasting heart damage.

    At the time, there were many wild theories as to what caused it. One of the more prevalent notions was that it was triggered by carpet cleaning chemicals, since debunked. This paper smacks to me of "correlation does not equal causation". I'm especially dubious about the supposed geographic origins given that incidents, while clustered around metropolitan areas, were not confined to the west US coast (we live in New Hampshire.)

    Over the years I have read many articles and research papers about Kawasaki Disease. I don't think we're any closer to an explanation than we were in 1987.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by manofherb ( 211786 )

      Father from Nebraska, my son came down with it in February of 2013 after 3-4 days of him just clinging to us with high fevers we finally took him to the emergency room where they did the cultures, the spinal tap, blood draws, etc everything when they finally determined what it was(my wife had googled it around the same time) they were able to start the IVIG [] and by the next morning his fever had gone down and he started getting back to normal followed up by a few ultraso

      • They did ultrasounds on me for a few years (they still had no idea how long to check for) and I actually got to see some of the evolution of the machines. I remember seeing the first time they started measuring the blood flow with blue and red representing directions of the flow.

        It was such an unknown thing for so long, that I was turned down when I tried to donate blood at age 18. The nurse at the blood drive even called their central office to ask, but since no one knew what it was, they decided to err

    • I was actually diagnosed with it when I was 12 (back in 1985), same type of "process of elimination" diagnoses. First they thought I had Chicken Pox, then they thought it might be something else, then they finally settled on KD. My own fever actually hit 105.4, and they had to give me an ice bath (you don't know the meaning of cold until you've had that happen).

      My fever was so high for so long that I burned from the inside out and my skin peeled over my entire body. I had no idea that could happen. Spen

  • Sometimes results in "early death"? As opposed to those diseases that kill you when you would have died anyway?

    • by ponos ( 122721 )

      Some diseases leave lasting morbidity (say, itching) but are not expected to modify life span. People suffering from fibromyalgia, for example, don't seem to live shorter lives, but do have many symptoms.

  • Just like some people develop (autoimmune) disease after exposure to gluten, we could expect other environmental agents to trigger Kawasaki. I'm curious to see if this is confirmed. Unfortunately, I don't see we could avoid exposure. Maybe hosts with genetic susceptibility should wear masks? Still, not easy...

  • If you wear all the gear all the time, you're far likely to get rashes and death when you fall off your Kawasaki.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama