When compared to children suffering from the seasonal flu, University of Utah researchers have found that the incidence of seizures is significantly higher in children with the H1N1 virus.
The most common complications following the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) observed were seizures and encephalopathy.
The 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.
On August 10, 2010 the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee officially declared an end to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
Neurological complications observed included seizures, febrile seizures, status epilepticus, encephalopathy, encephalitis, myositis, myalgia, aphasia, ataxia, neuropathy, Gullain-Barre syndrome, or other focal neurological complaints.
"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. Josh 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 Bonkowsky.
The findings are published in the September issue of Annals of Neurology.