BROOKE Dean hadn’t heard of Kawasaki disease until a few weeks ago.
That was when her seven-year-old son Izsak began feeling unwell and was diagnosed with the condition.
Kawasaki disease attacks red blood cells, causing them to swell up and it can trigger coronary artery aneurysms and other heart problems if not treated within 10 days.
Mrs Dean said Izsak complained of a headache one Wednesday afternoon in early May.
“He didn’t eat his dinner, which is very unusual for him,” she said.
“He was unwell for the next couple of days and on Friday morning he woke up with a rash, his lips were swollen, red and cracked and he still had the headache, sore neck, felt sick and had a temperature, which did not seem to really subside with Panadol.”
Thinking Izsak might have meningitis, Mrs Dean packed an overnight bag for him and her husband Kyril and made a doctor’s appointment.
They spent the next week at the Warrnambool Base Hospital, with Izsak’s temperature not dropping below 38 degrees and peaking regularly at 42 degrees over the first four days.
“They tested Izsak for a large number of things. They did start treating him for it straight away with intravenous antibiotics and he was admitted to the paediatric ward. They kept doing blood tests and urine test each day to test for different things,” Mrs Dean said
“All the test results were normal except that they showed he had a reasonably serious infection but they could not pinpoint it.”
Mrs Dean said when Dr Nick Thies came on duty on Monday, they showed him pictures of Izsak’s rash and by lunchtime the next day Izsak was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease.
She said gamma globulin, a type of blood plasma, was ordered from Melbourne and on the Tuesday doctors began the transfusion.
“On Wednesday morning, Izsak woke up and got up and went to the toilet. He hadn’t been out of bed for five days before,” Mrs Dean said.
“His temperature was under 38 degrees and only went back up once during the 12 hours following his transfusion. We went home that night. It was amazing.”
“Dr Thies told me that he has treated on average one case of KD (Kawasaki disease) every year over the past 30 years and even though the disease has been around for such a long time, its cause is unknown and diagnosis is difficult.
“Izsak was one of the lucky few that was diagnosed on day five of the fever and treated immediately. He has had follow up ECHOs (heart scans) and there are no signs of any coronary issues. However, during his illness the unknown was terrifying.”
Now Mrs Dean is keen to raise awareness of the condition and next weekend will participate in the MCG Stadium Stomp, a stair climb event that raises money for various charities.
She said colleagues at Stringer Clarke/Ryan Carlisle Thomas had heard their story and decided their team should raise money for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation.
“Sarah Richardson from one of the Melbourne offices emailed and asked if it would be OK. I was completely moved they wanted to do that for us,” Mrs Dean said.
“There is a team of 12 so I thought because they did this for us, I’d join in as well. I really just want to raise awareness of the disease. We were so lucky, we had such wonderful staff at the hospital. Things could have been different otherwise.
‘‘We are so lucky and so blessed.”
People wishing to donate to the Stadium Stomp team can visit stadiumstopm.com.au, select the MCG event and follow the prompts.