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This refers to inflammation of the small blood vessels. This condition can arise from immune system confusion, wherein the vessels are attacked along with an invading germ. Scarletina or rheumatic fever are good examples of this. Other agents, such as viruses or certain drugs can induce this reaction. Sometimes it occurs for apparently no reason at all - there is obviously some inciting factor, we just don't know what it is. An example of a serious vasculitis of obscure cause is Kawasaki disease.