Skip to main content
Accessibility|Contact|Privacy|Terms|Cookies

Higher Rate of Seizures in Children with H1N1

  • Published: 2010-09-20 : Author: Wiley-Blackwell
  • Synopsis: Higher incidence of seizures seen in children with H1N1 virus compared to seasonal flu.

Main Document

Higher incidence of seizures seen in children with H1N1 virus compared to seasonal flu - Vaccination important to combat flu-related neurological complications.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Utah determined that the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) caused a higher rate of neurological complications in children than the seasonal flu. The most common complications observed were seizures and encephalopathy. Full details of the study, the most extensive evaluation of neurological complications following H1N1 flu in children, are published in the September issue of Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association.

The H1N1 virus (swine flu) was identified in Mexico and the U.S. in April 2009 and quickly spread worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the novel influenza A virus a pandemic. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 43 million to 89 million Americans were infected with H1N1 between April 2009 and April 10, 2010, with approximately 14 million to 28 million of those cases in children 17 years of age and younger. On August 10, 2010 the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee officially declared an end to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

In their retrospective study, Josh Bonkowsky, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues examined neurological complications in children with H1N1 compared to the seasonal flu. Children (younger than 19 years of age) who were hospitalized with H1N1 and neurological complications between April 1 and November 30, 2009 were included in the study. In the comparison group, the research team used records of children hospitalized with seasonal flu and neurological complications from July 1, 2004-June 30, 2008. Neurological complications observed included seizures, febrile seizures, status epilepticus, encephalopathy, encephalitis, myositis, myalgia, aphasia, ataxia, neuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, or other focal neurological complaints.

Researchers identified 303 children who were hospitalized with 2009 H1N1 of which 18 experienced neurological complications. Eight-three percent of these pediatric patients had an underlying medical condition primarily 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.

1. Epilepsy Foundation, www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/types/types/statusepilepticus.cfm

This study is published in Annals of Neurology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact healthnews@wiley.com.

Full citation: "Heightened Neurologic Complications in Children with Pandemic H1N1 Influenza." Jeffrey J. Ekstrand, Amy Herbener, Julia Rawlings, Beth Turney, Krow Ampofo, E. Kent Korgenski, Joshua L. Bonkowsky. Annals of Neurology; Published Online: September 20, 2010 (DOI:10.1002/ana.22184).

Annals of Neurology, the official journal of the American Neurological Association and the Child Neurology Society, publishes articles of broad interest with potential for high impact in understanding the mechanisms and treatment of diseases of the human nervous system. All areas of clinical and basic neuroscience, including new technologies, cellular and molecular neurobiology, population sciences, and studies of behavior, addiction, and psychiatric diseases are of interest to the journal.

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, Inc., with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.


Have Your Say! - Add your comment or discuss this article on our FaceBook Page.


Interesting Similar Topics
1 : H1N1 Flu Vaccine - Immunity Only Lasts 2 Years : The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
2 : It's Back - H1N1 Flu Returns in 2013-14 : Disabled World.
3 : Why Healthy Children Became Critically Ill with H1N1 : Children's Hospital Boston.
4 : H1N1 Hospitalization Rates Higher for Minorities : Trust for America's Health.
5 : Pandemic H1N1 Flu Virus Fate : NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
From our H1N1 Swine Flu Virus section - Full List (49 Items)


Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





1 : Eating at Night, Sleeping By Day Alters Key Blood Proteins
2 : Interior Car Temperature Can Become Life-threatening for Children in an Hour
3 : 20 New Episodes of Letters to Lynette with Dr. Lynette Louise to Air on The Autism Channel in 2018
4 : Turnstone Center Designated as Official Paralympic Training Site by US Olympic Committee
5 : Help Your Child in School by Adding Language to The Math
6 : 50% of Retirees Saw Little or No COLA Increase in Net 2018 Social Security Benefits
7 : Turnstone Endeavor Games Concludes with National Records Broken
8 : Spinning in Circles and Learning From Myself by Tsara Shelton


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™