We report an 11-week-old female who presented with Kawasaki disease (KD) complicated by macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). The infant presented to the hospital with persistent fever, cough, diarrhea, and emesis, among other symptoms. Her condition quickly began to decompensate, and she developed classic features (conjunctivitis, rash, cracked lips, distal extremity edema) prompting a diagnosis of acute KD. The patient was treated with standard therapy for KD including three doses of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), aspirin, and high dose glucocorticoids with no change in her condition. Due to a high suspicion for MAS, high dose anakinra therapy was initiated resulting in dramatic clinical improvements. She also received one dose of infliximab for concern for coronary artery changes, and over the course of several months, anakinra and high dose glucocorticoids were tapered. Nearly complete reversal of echocardiogram changes were observed after 8 months, and the infant is now off all immunosuppressive therapy. In this case report, we briefly review the importance of early recognition of MAS in pediatric patient populations with rheumatic diseases, and we suggest early initiation of anakinra therapy as a rapid and effective treatment option. © 2014 Shafferman et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.