New research shows that human herpesviruses (HHV)-6B and HHV-7, commonly know as roseola virus), account for one third of febrile status epilepticus (FSE) cases. Results of the FEBSTAT prospective study now available in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggest that HHV-6B may be involved in the development of epilepsy and further research is urgently needed.
FEBSTAT is a multi-center study of the consequences of FSE, designed to identify the factors that increase the risk of injury to the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for long-term memory and implicated in the development of temporal lobe epilepsy. The FEBSTAT study is funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to previous research, up to 5% of children under the age of five have febrile seizures, making it the most common type of seizure, with peak incidence at age 2. While brief or simple febrile seizures are most common, 5% - 8% of cases are prolonged and meet the criteria for status epilepticus (SE)a critical condition where a persistent seizure lasts more than 30 minutes. Experts suggest that FSE accounts for 5% of FS; however, FSE accounts for 25% of all childhood SE and for more than 70% of SE cases that occur in the second year of life. FSE is associated with increased epilepsy risk, particularly temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).
"One aim of the FEBSTAT study is to determine the frequency of HHV-6A, HHV-6B, and HHV-7 as a cause of FSE and whether infection with any of these herpesviruses increases the risk of brain injury and epilepsy," said lead author Dr. Leon Epstein a, pediatric neurologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
The team enrolled 199 children between the ages of 1 month and 5 years,
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