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Epilepsia. 2010 Jul;51(7):1323-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2010.02535.x. Epub 2010 Mar 18.

Febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES): a nonencephalitic encephalopathy in childhood.

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Department of Neuropediatrics, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany.


Encephalitis is generally presumed, even when seizures follow banal febrile infection, and pathogen detection in cerebrospinal fluid fails. This retrospective multicenter case series reports on 22 previously healthy children aged 3-15 years (median 6.5 years) with prolonged or recurrent seizures occurring 2-14 days (median 5 days) after fever onset (19 children with respiratory or nonspecific infections). Cerebrospinal fluid studies revealed 2-42 cells/microl (median 5 cells/microl) and no pathogens. Electroencephalography showed diffuse slowing or multifocal discharges. Neuroimaging demonstrated normal findings in 10 children. Brain biopsies were performed in seven children showing gliosis but no inflammation. Anesthetic barbiturates were used in 14 children with refractory status epilepticus, and immunotherapy in 9. Two children died, eight remained in a state of impaired consciousness, eight developed therapy-refractory epilepsies, two had behavioral disturbances, and two recovered. The lack of evidence for encephalitis suggests another infection-related pathogenesis of this disastrous epileptic encephalopathy. Therefore, we propose the term "febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome" (FIRES).

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