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Neurological complications and pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus infection


Itai Berger, M.D., Pediatrics Neurology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, PO Box 24035, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91240, Israel.
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Aim:  To report on a different clinical course of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) infection among children who were neurologically impaired before the acute onset of the disease, in comparison with children who were neurologically intact.

Methods:  In a period of 6 months, six children with neurological complications associated with pandemic A (H1N1) infection were identified in a single institution paediatric emergency room. The children suffered from seizures or altered mental status during pandemic A (H1N1) infection. All children underwent extensive clinical and laboratory assessment. Three children were neurologically impaired before the acute onset of the H1N1 infection. The other three were neurologically intact before the acute viral infection.

Results:  In all six patients, pandemic influenza A (H1N1) viral RNA was detected in nasopharyngeal specimens but none in the cerebrospinal fluid. Five children fully recovered or returned to baseline at discharge. The clinical course of the disease and recovery were different between the children who were neurologically impaired before the acute viral infection and those who were neurologically intact.

Conclusions:  It is possible that children with various neurological conditions are in a higher risk to develop further neurological complications during pandemic influenza A (H1N1) infection.

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