By Dan Olmsted
Kawasaki's Disease, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: Kawasaki's Disease (KD) is an acute febrile illness of infants and children in which redness of the mucous membranes, skin and tongue are associated with swelling of the hands and feet and subsequent desquamation (peeling of the skin) of the hands and feet. Other signs include swollen lymph nodes of the neck (cervical lymphadenitis), redness and swelling of the eyes (conjuctival congestion), sores in the mouth (stomatitis) and swollen lips (chelitis). After a week or two the skin of the hands and feet begin to peel starting around the nails. Upwards of 20% of patients develop coronary artery complications, however most patients have uneventful recoveries without any long term problems.
The peak age of incidence is 1 year of age with a mean of 2.6 years and it is uncommon over 8 years of age.
Acrodynia, or Pink Disease, according to Donald Cheek, Australia, 1953: "The physician is consulted because of a sudden change of well-being on the part of the infant. There may be a history of a cold, or of recent infection associated with rhinitis. Irritability is present and the little patient, usually age 5 or 6 months or older, refuses to take his food. Teething is in progress, and the mother often ascribes the state of her infant to this. [Rashes] … spread across the trunk of the body. …. The muscles are soft to the feel, and the hands and feet previously pink some of the time become pink, swollen, edamtous, cold, and moist most of the time. … There is always the potential danger of shock."
From TMZ.com, 7:10 p.m. Jan. 2, 2009: Rand Memorial Hospital in the Bahamas tells TMZ the son of John Travolta died today.
We're told 16-year-old Jett was vacationing with Travolta and wife Kelly Preston.
There have been reports that Jett was autistic, though Travolta has denied it, saying he suffers from Kawasaki Syndrome, a condition which often leads to heart disease.
From Wikipedia.org: Initially, the cause of the acrodynia epidemic among infants and young children was unknown; however, mercury poisoning, primarily from calomel in teething powders, began to be widely accepted as its cause in the 1950s and 60s. The prevalence of acrodynia decreased greatly after calomel was excluded from most teething powders in 1954.
From Kawasaki's disease, acrodynia, and mercury. Mutter J, Yeter D.; Department of Environmental and Complementary Medicine, Salusmed Medical Center, Berlingen, Switzerland. (HERE), December 2008:
A superantigen or autoimmunity has been hypothesized to be the main cause of the Kawasaki's Disease but the etiology is unknown. Medical literature, epidemiological findings, and some case reports have suggested that mercury may play a pathogenic role. Several patients with Kawasaki's Disease have presented with elevated urine mercury levels compared to matched controls. Most symptoms and diagnostic criteria which are seen in children with acrodynia, known to be caused by mercury, are similar to those seen in Kawasaki's Disease. Genetic depletion of glutathione S-transferase , a susceptibility marker for Kawasaki's Disease, is known to be also a risk factor for acrodynia and may also increase susceptibility to mercury . Coinciding with the largest increase (1985-1990) of thimerosal (49.6% ethyl mercury) in vaccines, routinely given to infants in the U.S. by 6 months of age (from 75microg to 187.5microg), the rates of Kawasaki's Disease increased ten times, and, later (1985-1997), by 20 times. Since 1990 88 cases of patients developing Kawasaki's Disease some days after vaccination have been reported to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) including 19% manifesting symptoms the same day. The presented pathogenetic model may lead to new preventive- and therapeutic strategies for Kawasaki's disease.
From CNN.com: Jett Travolta had a developmental disability that his parents, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, have linked to Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disorder of the artery walls that most commonly occurs in young children and can lead to heart disease.
In 2001, John Travolta told CNN's Larry King that his son had a near brush with death related to the condition.
"I was obsessive about cleaning -- his space being clean, so we constantly had the carpets cleaned. And I think, between him, the fumes and walking around, maybe picking up pieces or something, he got what is rarely a thing to deal with, but it's Kawasaki syndrome," Travolta said of his then-2-year-old son. ….
"It was that the immune system overreacts, because they have almost the equivalent of metallic chemical," Travolta said.
From Brian Clark Howard at The Daily Green.com: As celebrity actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston mourn the death of their 16-year-old son Jett, they raise questions about the potentially lethal effects of past exposure to toxic chemicals in carpet cleaners, as well as about the mysterious Kawasaki Disease -- which their son reportedly suffered from. … Three additional studies did find an association between exposure to freshly cleaned carpets within 4 hours of the cleaning process and Kawaski disease -- however, the results were the same if the carpets or upholstery were cleaned with chemicals or simply plain water. Four studies found no associations at all. When researchers tried to follow up and determine if the causative agent might be disturbing of dust mites, which they reasoned might harbor disease agents, that lead did not pan out."
From EPA.gov: Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury (but see the "What to Do if a Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks" section below for more specific instructions about vacuuming broken fluorescent light bulbs). The vacuum will put mercury into the air and increase exposure.
From me -- We don't know why Jett Travolta died, but we do know that our environment is making more and more of our kids sick while the medical community and public health officials deliberately avoid investigating "the equivalent of a metallic chemical," whether it's found in commercial products, vaccines or carpets with spilled mercury. Our kids are paying the price.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.