How Kawasaki disease may blow in with the wind

The origin of Kawasaki disease has been linked to a fungal toxin riding the wind from farmland in northeastern China to Japan. The disease affects young children and can cause inflammation of blood vessels and, in some cases, fatal heart disease. Its origins have been unknown for more than 40 years.

New computer simulations trace the origin of the toxin to northeastern China. Candida fungiwhich has been linked to Kawasaki-like symptoms in mice, is also the most dominant fungal strain blowing in  the wind during Kawasaki season, researchers report May 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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