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Higher incidence of seizures seen in children with H1N1 virus compared to seasonal flu
Date:9/19/2010

ological complications. Eight-three percent of these pediatric patients had an underlying medical conditionprimarily neurological issues (66%). The research team found the most common neurologic symptoms in this group were seizures (67%) and encephalopathy (50%). More than half of those children who experienced seizures presented in a life-threatening state known as status epilepticus, where continuous seizure activity occurs for more than 5 to 30 minutes1.

The comparison group included 234 children who were hospitalized for seasonal flu with 16 patients experiencing neurological issues. In the seasonal flu cohort only 25% patients had underlying medical conditions. The researchers also noted that none of the patients with seasonal flu and neurological complications had encephalopathy, aphasia, or focal neurological deficits.

Compared to seasonal influenza, patients with H1N1 were more likely to have abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG) findings. "We found that more pediatric H1N1 patients had neurological deficits and required ongoing treatment with anti-epileptic medications upon discharge from the hospital," commented Dr. Bonkowsky.

Additionally, researchers found the use of steroids or intravenous immunoglobulin was not beneficial in the treatment of encephalopathy. "The absence of proven treatments for influenza-related neurological complications underlines the importance of vaccination," said Dr. Bonkowsky. For protection against the flu, the CDC recommends yearly flu vaccination and the U.S. 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine will protect against an H3N2 virus, influenza B, and the 2009 H1N1 virus.


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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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