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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2005 June;57(3):137-42


language: English

Acute encephalopathy associated with respiratory syncytial virus infections in childhood. A literature review

Antonucci R., Fanos V.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been described as the single most important virus causing acute respiratory infections, especially bronchiolitis and pneumonia, in children. The most severe infections affect the youngest infants and well-defined high-risk groups, including infants with a history of premature birth, and those with chronic lung disease, congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis and immunodeficiency. It has been reported that approximately 1/3 of high-risk children hospitalized with RSV infection are admitted to the intensive care unit, while the need for mechanical ventilation and mortality rate are increased in infants with underlying cardiac disease or chronic lung disease. The majority of infants hospitalized for RSV lower respiratory tract infection develop one complication or more, which have an impact on hospital length of stay and costs. A relatively uncommon complication consisting of seizures and other neurologic abnormalities such as lethargy, irritability and abnormal tone has been sporadically reported in infants and children with RSV respiratory infection. A recent study first focused on the association between RSV bronchiolitis and an encephalopathic process occurring in the form of a seizures disorder. This transient neurologic complication seems to be frequently associated with an abnormal EEG pattern, but no anatomic brain damages have been shown. Little is known about the long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes of children developing RSV-related encephalopathy, so a prolonged period of neurologic follow up can be recommended.

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