Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

General discussion regarding Kawasaki disease
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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by award » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:39 pm

Actually, carpet cleaning has never actually been disproved so that's not quite true. I fully believe that this is just one avenue that kids somehow become ill with the constellation of symptoms leading to KD. The Colorado outbreak was one of the largest in the United States and had a very significant population that had been exposed to carpet cleaning of some kind, about 60% which is highly statistically significant--there were variations of cleaning with steam, powders, chemicals, professional and large spot cleanings.
The New York study found a significant correlation as well but this is considered less scientifically accurate study because they did what is called a retrospective study--meaning they went back and asked people over a year later. They felt this was reasonable given the severity of the nature of the illness and the fact that with the kids being so ill that parents would have a better memory regarding this and surrounding issues as well as fact that carpet cleaning isn't so everyday that you would lump it together accidentally. For instance, because the outbreaks occurred in this area over winter holiday season, more people cleaned their carpets for guests, etc. In fact, one VERY unlucky family had cleaned their carpets AGAIN and had a second bout of KD shortly afterward.
The theory of what part of the cleaning was the cause for the infection was possibly disproved--dust mites. The theory was that dust mites were somehow agitated and thus attacked the child causing an autoimmune reaction. The study in Denver was very scientifically rigorous and was replicated which is exceptional. The problem is, carpet cleaning is very likely only one avenue as there are clearly others--coronavirus in one, Standing bodies of water in another, having an upper respiratory infection within 30 days before KD in several others but not in another, etc. Other studies have not replicated these factors but each study (in the affected area) that showed these factors did reveal a significant correlation--leading many scientists to believe that there isn't one cause of KD but several and all lead to the autoimmune reaction. Other parents believe vaccines led to the KD because their children had them right before the KD despite the fact that this has been studied and not found to be necessarily true. My son didn't but I am open minded about many of these things because, for some kids if they were vulnerable and it stimulated an autoimmune reaction/dysfunction, it may be an element. Although, it would be a much smaller population than with some of the other possible causes based on the studies I have read. The truth is, no one knows for sure but if you even mention the possibility the media globs onto the thought like superglue and here we'd have thousands, and maybe millions of parents not vaccinating their kids (like with Autism) so we just cannot have that kind of irrational panic. It is a shame though because the fear of opening pandora's box limits further research.

By the way, I want to be clear that I am NOT advocating that parents avoid vaccines in their children at all. Just like your child may do well with pencillin and another child may have a rash with this drug and another diarrhea and another an anaphylactic reaction doesn't mean we don't use the drug to cure bacterial infections. The fact remains some kids and adults may have reactions to different vaccines or drugs that an overwhelming amount of people in the population have no problem with at all. I will certainly vaccinate my child and I will clean my carpets again but NEVER with them in the house and I will open every window we have for many hours. WE can only try to do our best for our kids while using common sense and not giving in to fear and panic

BY the way, my carpets were cleaned just over two weeks before we moved in a rental home and the place was never ventilated in any way.
One of my dear friends, an ER nurse who is also asian, has a daughter who had KD TWICE--at age 4 months and age 16 years. Both times were within two weeks of carpet cleaning.
I saw a case 6 years ago in my medical training (which led me to recognize it in my own son)--and they had cleaned their carpets.

In December, we had a well child check for my daughter with the pediatrician and the medical assistant's son had KD two months before and she had cleaned her carpets 3 weeks before--steam cleaning.
She said there was one other child she knew of in the medical practice who had KD about 6 mos before and they had their carpets cleaned and she knew this because the doctor she worked with made it a point to ask the family when they came in for follow up if they had cleaned their carpets.

Is carpet cleaning the only cause? Absolutely not! IS is the chemicals? NOPE, too many variations of cleaning to be the chemicals. Is it dust mites? Who knows. The other scientists who tried to follow up the Denver Colorado theory in their own region of the country collected dust mite specimens and there were no significant differences in the group with KD or the kids in the area who didn't have KD. Just like no one knows what causes Autism just yet, no one knows what causes KD. WE only know it is autoimmune which leads you down a very tricky path when you consider all of the diseases which are autoimmune other than these---Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, probably fibromyalgia, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Sprue, Multiple Sclerosis, thyroid disease, vasculitis, to name but a few off the top of my head.

In any event, It seems awfully coincidental to me. So, I am not surprised that Travolta had his carpets cleaned before hand either. I am sorry that the media frenzy is somehow linking his death, so many years later, to a completely unrelated cause but feel grateful that at least public awareness is increasing, and if nothing else, physicians may decide to research it more now that they hear about it on the news.

April Ward RN, MS NP/PA
Not an expert affiliated with this site
I am a Kawasaki mom

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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by mmiritello » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:41 am

Well said! I totally agree. I too had our carpets cleaned 10 days before my daughter came down with KD

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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by jmrn44 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:48 am

It seems that autism is associated with seizures. Jenny McCarthy's son also had seizures as well as a lady I know who has 2 boys that have autism. Kd does not cause seizures typically. I did lots and lots of research and lots and lots of corresponding with families infected with kd and about 90% or more there was dampness/ and or carpet cleaning. Who knows about the others can they say 100% that they were not in contact with any dampness/carpet cleaning from church, school, hotel, resteraunt, relative or friends home /vehicles. We come into contact all the time with things we do not realize. Trillions of dollars a yr are spent on carpet cleaners even spot cleaners so of course they are not going to pin point it. How many of you on this forum where around carpet cleaning dampness/mold? It would be interesting to tally this up. I wish you all the best and those just being dx with kd hang in there it will get better! I have never heard the duck/bird theory - interesting. who knows!

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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by award » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:29 pm

Read my post.
Also, I think I already emailed you that although Dr. Burns did not find carpet cleaning to be an issue in her studies in San Diego--she actually felt the studies done in Colorado were well done and replicated which is significant., as did many researchers. The truth is, no one knows why. The apple juice theory would only hold water if one or two parents said that their children drank apple juice and then KD occurred, but if 60% of those children in the area had just drank it, it would be entirely different--there could be a connection. There are many avenues to the same illness. It is not faulty logic or specious reasoning.

Read my post. I have recently read all of the studies on carpet cleaning so they are fresh in my mind. I have also seen the ones on preceding URI and standing bodies of water, coronavirus, etc. Although each study has significant findings in their populations--they don't pan out with other populations. This is not disproving a theory--it is not replicating a study which is very different.


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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by Nancy » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:16 pm

hi, April

At the 2005 KD Symposium in San Diego...the question of the "carpet cleaning" theory was raised...and all the physician experts
there...Anne Rowley, Stan Shulman, Jane Burns, and Jane Newburger...all said that theory was out of date and no longer being researched...
and that their current research efforts...while differing...Rowley and Shulman are on the trail of the possible virus and respiratory
portal...and Burns and Newburger are tracking genetic NOT include looking at the carpet theory...

mom to jason

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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by marinamom » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:49 pm

There are often multiple factors causing an illness - the "perfect storm" theory. My son (not kd) has a heart defect, which doctors typically describe as a genetic pre-disposition caused by environmental factors. It is probably true that children with KD have some genetic pre-disposition but there is also probably one or two environmental factors either virus, chemical (i.e., carpet cleaning) or both. Also on the carpet theory I have read the cleaning can increase the number of viruses' in a room. Again I go back to the perfect storm, kids may be fighting an infection, exposed to chemicals and have a genetic predisposition. I have spent much time researching heart defects and there is no answer other than people know the genetics plus viruses (Rubella or the flu) and chemical exposures (paint or smoking) can cause the defect. Everyone's exposures are going to be different, however. With regard to the doctor's comments at the symposium, for all we know they were talking about carpet cleaning as the single cause not as one of many factors. I think KD parents should focus less on what caused it and more on what we can do to ensure the KD kids have the same high quality life as children without KD. Chemical exposures are bad for anyone and I hope that parents look into going green with cleaners and going organic with food. It can be done for the same costs if you are smart. This is good advice for all children KD or not.

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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by award » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:36 am

I know that researchers have not looked in this direction but I have contacted most of the big names for guidance on my doctoral education project and all admit that the Denver studies were done well and replicated which means they were not disproved--no one knows where else to go with it. They looked at chemicals, dust mites, and other factors but came to a dead end. When you come to a dead end you have to stop because there is no reason to hold on. Don't assume that means it isn't an issue at all because if you sit a scientist down, and force them to clarify, they will tell you that it is not the same thing.
No one knows where to go period except for looking at genetic sucesptibility. Do you really think it is coincidence that so many people had carpet cleaning done right before KD? I mean carpet cleaning is not an every day thing like drinking apple juice, brushing your teeth, or cleaning the bathroom. This is why researchers won't say it cannot be carpet cleaning, the stats and Denver study were just too significant. I do know some obsessively clean people who clean their carpets alot but this is quite exceptional--most people do not do this frequently but more like yearly.
Be careful about what you assume from physicians--I have worked in medicine for 20 years and have watched countless patients lost because no one wanted to believe that they had something wrong with them--just because THEY couldn't find it. As I mention many times, physicians do not like the unknown--they have to stick with what they know and western medicine certainly doesn't know it all and never will--diseases are just too varied and when you get diseases like KD or Autism which are autoimmune--well, your basic doctor doesn't understand that kind of process well. Unless you are an immunologist or researcher specifically working in infectious disease, it is a very difficult field of study and navigating the mysteries is long and painstaking. NOt to mention BORING reading material that almost no doctor I have ever known will read unless that is their field of study.
Again, I certainly do not think carpet cleaning is THE cause of KD, but I do think that it is BUT one environmental trigger for an infectious process causing an autoimmune response or just an autoimmune response.
My understanding is that most people wouldn't even admit that KD was autoimmune and thought that KD really was just a self limiting illness that went away up until a few years ago--you can see how far we have come already. Some kids do very well, others do not. Such is the way with all illness. The plague killed some, but others survived. Our knowledge will continue to change as researchers study and information evolves but be careful about discounting anything with such a significant population.
I have spent too many years unlearning the medical "FACTS" as we knew them and had to discard for new "Facts", I know better now. Nothing is absolute and certainly not medicine.
To illustrate my point more clearly, here is some medical trivia about "cutting edge" medicine in President Lincoln's day. Most physicians of the day were learning that a rectal exam increased the patient's heart rate. OF course they didn't know why that was but they knew that it did. So when Lincoln was dying, he was subjected to repeated rectal exams in order to speed up his heart rate and, hopefully, save him. Now, any layperson today could read that and laugh, knowing with certainty that this is not a good treatment for a gunshot wound but at the time, it really was cutting edge.

THank GOd we know differently now :).

Best regards,

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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by JoeyPeter » Wed May 16, 2018 7:19 am

well said @award...nice and in-depth information. I agree but many people don't do this frequently but more like yearly.

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Re: Relationship between Carpet shampooing and KD

Post by Legst1980 » Mon May 21, 2018 2:44 am

it was a popular theory years ago, but was disproven later on. You don't hear too much about it anymore, except now that Travolta holds that theory as it was popular back then. Now that his son has passed away, we may be hearing about it again. There is no proven cause for KD.

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