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 fungi, which 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.