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H1N1 (Swine Flu): Neurologic Complications Among Children – H1N1 Virus Infection

July 24, 2009

Seizures in Children

CDC alerted medical clinicians in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that H1N1 may cause seizures, after four children were hospitalized in Texas for neurological complications. All four children fully recovered without complications after being treated at a Dallas hospital.

H1N1_fluyou02The announcement does not surprise doctors accustomed to seeing complications in the brain caused by the seasonal flu viruses that circulate every year. Because flu-related brain complications are more common in children than adults and swine flu seems to infect children more often than adults, public health experts expect to see more cases of children who develop swine-flu-related neurological complications as the pandemic continues.


What to Look For in a Sick Child

Neurological problems in the report including seizures, confusion and delirium, followed the onset of respiratory symptoms within one to four days. The complications were less severe than those previously described in the medical literature as associated with seasonal flu, according to the report.

Things to look for in your child who has a respiratory illness include: change in the child’s personality or behavior such as increased irritability or memory problems, soon after the onset of the illness.  Contact your child’s doctor as soon as possible.

Neurological complications in children are among the most serious side effects of influenza, with milder complications like seizures or brain swelling being moderately common. Death occurs in only a couple of cases each year.

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report  http://www.cdc.gov/media/mmwrnews/2009/n090723.htm#2

NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/health/24flu.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

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