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Ochsner J. 2018 Winter;18(4):425-427. doi: 10.31486/toj.18.0098.

A Case of Reye Syndrome Caused by Influenza A Virus.

Author information

The University of Queensland School of Medicine, Ochsner Clinical School, New Orleans, LA.
Department of Pediatrics, Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, LA.



Reye syndrome is a rare and potentially life-threatening disease characterized by liver failure and hepatic encephalopathy. Multiple possible etiologies have been suggested, but only aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) has been statistically proven to be a causative factor. We describe a case of Reye syndrome secondary to influenza A virus.

Case Report:

A 2-year-old male with a recent history of influenza-like symptoms presented with neurologic deterioration. He had elevated liver enzymes, hyperammonemia, elevated creatinine, and hypoglycemia. Liver biopsy showed microvesicular steatosis consistent with Reye syndrome. He was given supportive care and recovered after 17 days with normalization of metabolic derangements. At 4-month follow-up, the patient had reached age-specific developmental milestones.


The incidence of Reye syndrome has decreased since 1980 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning against aspirin use in children. Consequently, any new incidence of Reye syndrome warrants investigation of other etiologies. This case adds to the evidence that causes other than aspirin can result in Reye syndrome.


Hepatic encephalopathy; Reye syndrome; influenza A

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