Warning to parents after Leeds four-year-old boy's rare Kawasaki disease scare

A close call with a mysterious and potentially deadly autoimmune disease has led a Leeds mum to launch an awareness drive.

Jenni Tomson pictured with her son Ryan. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Jenni Tomson, who lives in Tinshill, Leeds, is trying to spread the word about Kawasaki disease after her four-year-old son Ryan suddenly lost his appetite, developed a rash and a 39.4C temperature earlier this year.

The youngster was initially misdiagnosed with a viral infection before Jenni took him to A&E where doctors found that he had contracted the disease, which has no known cause.

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Kawasaki disease is a rare autoimmune illness affecting the blood vessels. It can cause inflammation and even lead to aneurysms and heart problems.

Ryan Tomson pictured in hospital.

Jenni, 21, explained that Ryan spent 10 days in hospital on an IV drip to fight off the disease with antibodies. He was fed through a tube and rehydrated before being sent home.

She said: “Seeing him go from a lively little boy to having absolutely no energy, being unable to eat, drink and sit up was heartbreaking.

“I didn’t realise how serious it could have been until a doctor came to see me and asked me if I was worried. I did some more research and realised why.

“We had a close call – it could have been a lot worse.”

The Kawasaki disease rash on Ryan Tomson.

Ryan is building up his strength but is still undergoing tests after ultrasound scans revealed that his liver, kidneys and pancreas were inflamed. It is also thought he may have suffered some damage to his heart.

Jenni is now keen to spread the word and has launched a fundraising campaign in support of the Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care (COSMIC) which is raising money for research.

She said: “I want to spread the message about what to look out for. If you notice any fever lasting five days or more with any signs of the other symptoms get them checked out.”

Eight in every 100,000 UK children get Kawasaki disease. Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KDfundraising to donate or for further information.

Ryan Tomson pictured in hospital.

A rare illness

Kawasaki disease, also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, is a rare condition that mainly affects children under the age of five.

Symptoms include a high temperature lasting for more than five days along with a rash, swollen glands in the neck, cracked lips, red fingers or toes or red eyes.

The disease, first described by Dr Tomisaki Kawasaki of Japan in 1967, causes the blood vessels to become inflamed which can lead to heart complications.

The Kawasaki disease rash on Ryan Tomson.

Visit kssg.org.uk for details.