Objective: The association between Kawasaki disease and autism has rarely been studied in Asian populations. By using a nationwide Taiwanese population-based claims database, we tested the hypothesis that Kawasaki disease may increase the risk of autism in Taiwan. Materials and Methods: Our study cohort consisted of patients who had received the diagnosis of Kawasaki disease (ICD-9-CM: 446.1) between 1997 and 2005 (N = 563). For a comparison cohort, five age-and gender-matched control patients for every patient in the study cohort were selected using random sampling (N = 2, 815). All subjects were tracked for 5 years from the date of cohort entry to identify whether they had developed autism (ICD-9-CM code 299.0) or not. Cox proportional hazard regressions were then performed to evaluate 5-year autism-free survival rates. Results: The main finding of this study was that patients with Kawasaki disease seem to not be at increased risk of developing autism. Of the total patients, four patients developed autism during the 5-year follow-up period, among whom two were Kawasaki disease patients and two were in the comparison cohort. Further, the adjusted hazard ratios (AHR) (AHR: 4.81; 95% confidence interval: 0.68-34.35; P = 0.117) did not show any statistical significance between the Kawasaki disease group and the control group during the 5-year follow-up. Conclusion: Our study indicated that patients with Kawasaki disease are not at increased risk of autism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3705-3716
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2014


  • Autism
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Population-based study
  • Taiwan population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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