It’s well known that children with severe forms of epilepsy are especially vulnerable to seizure activity after an influenza infection. Now, a new study has found that these children should receive the flu vaccine to help protect them from the high risk of seizure activity.
The study, published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior, looked at children with severe epilepsy who were hospitalized with the flu. The researchers found that nearly 40 percent of these children experienced a seizure within seven days of their hospitalization.
“This is the first study to our knowledge to document the high risk of seizures following influenza infection in children with severe epilepsy,” said study author Dr. Michael Schechter,director of the Epilepsy Center at Children’s National in Washington, D.C.
“While the majority of these children seizure-free, a significant minority will experience substantial seizure activity that can be associated with serious complications, such as pneumonia and even death.”
The findings highlight the importance of the flu vaccine for children with severe forms of epilepsy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children six months and older receive the flu vaccine.
“The bottom line is that the flu can be very serious, and even deadly, for children with severe forms of epilepsy,” said Schechter. “The best way to protect them is to ensure that they are vaccinated against the flu.”
Severe form of epilepsy is often characterized by high seizure risk. A new study has found that children with severe form of epilepsy are more likely to experience seizure after influenza infection, and should therefore receive flu vaccine.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia, looked at data from over 700 children with epilepsy. They found that those with severe form of epilepsy were four times more likely to experience seizure after influenza infection than those with milder forms of the condition.
“This is the first study to our knowledge that has looked at the risk of influenza-related seizure in children with epilepsy,” said study author Dr. Luke Bereznicki. “The results suggest that children with severe epilepsy are at high risk of seizure after influenza infection and should therefore be a priority for vaccination.”
The findings are particularly important given that there is currently no specific treatment for influenza-related seizure. “Prevention is the best approach,” said Dr. Bereznicki. “Vaccination not only protects the individual child, but also reduces the risk of transmission to others.”
The study highlights the importance of vaccination for children with severe form of epilepsy. While all children should receive flu vaccine, those with severe form of epilepsy are at especially high risk and should be a priority for vaccination.