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JNMA J Nepal Med Assoc. 2008 Jul-Sep;47(171):109-12.

Children with first episode of fever with seizure: is lumbar puncture necessary?

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Kanti Children's Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal.


Fever with seizure, a common presentation with which a child may present to the emergency is mainly due to febrile seizure, but it may also be due to meningitis. This study was done to find out the incidence of meningitis and to find out whether lumbar puncture is necessary in different age groups of children presenting with first episode of fever with seizure. A prospective study was conducted in the emergency department of Kanti Children's Hospital. Children who presented with first episode of fever and seizure in the age group of 6 months to 5 years were included. Meningitis was diagnosed on the basis of either cytological and biochemical criteria or if a bacterial pathogen was isolated. Of the 175 children included, 17% were diagnosed to have meningitis. Cerebrospinal fluid was positive for a bacterial pathogen in 4.5% of the cases. In the age group of 6 months to 12 months, 30% of the children had meningitis as compared to 20 % and 5% in other age groups of 12- 18 months and above 18 months respectively. All children with culture proven bacterial meningitis were in the age group of 6-12 months and had no evidence of meningeal irritation. Signs of meningeal irritation had high specificity in diagnosing meningitis. Organisms grown were Haemophilus influenza in three cases, Streptococcus pneumoniae in two cases and Staphylococcus aureus in three cases. In conclusion, incidence of meningitis was found to be high in children presenting with first episode of fever and seizure. Lumbar puncture to rule out meningitis should especially be considered in children in the younger age group even without evidence of meningeal irritation.

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