Prevalence of superantigen-secreting bacteria in patients with Kawasaki disease

Donald Y.M. Leung, H. Cody Meissner*, Stanford T Shulman, Wilbert H. Mason, Michael A. Gerber, Mary P. Glode, Barry L. Myones, J. Gary Wheeler, Robin Ruthazer, Patrick M. Schlievert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess the prevalence of superantigen secreting bacteria in children with acute Kawasaki disease (KD) relative to control patients. Study design: Bacterial cultures were obtained in a blinded fashion from the throat, rectum, and groin of 45 patients with untreated acute KD and 37 febrile control patients from 6 centers in the United States. Cultures were processed for the presence of superantigen-producing bacteria at a central laboratory. Results: Staphylococci or streptococci that produced superantigens (TSST-1, SEB, SEC, SPEB, SPEC) were isolated from 25 of 45 patients with KD (56%) as compared with 13 of 37 (35%) control patients (P = .078). Because SEB- and SEC-producing Staphylococcus aureus have not been associated with KD and because they do not induce a Vβ2+ T-lymphocyte response, we analyzed the difference between groups relative to superantigens TSST-1 or SPEB/SPEC production. TSST-1 secreting S aureus or SPEB/SPEC producing group A streptococci were isolated from 20 of 45 (44%) patients with KD compared with 7 of 37 (19%) control patients (P = .019). Conclusions: The overall isolation rates of superantigen (TSST-1, SPEB, SPEC, SEB, SEC) producing bacteria between patients with KD and febrile control patients were not statistically significant. However, future studies should further examine the potential role of Vβ2-stimulatory superantigens (TSST-1 and SPEB/SPEC) in KD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)742-746
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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    Leung, D. Y. M., Meissner, H. C., Shulman, S. T., Mason, W. H., Gerber, M. A., Glode, M. P., Myones, B. L., Wheeler, J. G., Ruthazer, R., & Schlievert, P. M. (2002). Prevalence of superantigen-secreting bacteria in patients with Kawasaki disease. Journal of Pediatrics, 140(6), 742-746.