In 1963, a doctor in North Carolina reported 16 cases of encephalitis that seemed to be caused by influenza type B.
This disease has become known as “Reye’s Syndrome”. The syndrome was discovered in 1929 but in reality did not receive a distinct name.
In 1960, it was discovered that the disease has serious effects on the brain (coma, delirium); moreover a careful analysis of liver showed accumulations of fat (or high levels of liver enzymes in the blood).
Reye’s syndrome is still difficult to understand. It affects children aged between 4 and 16, and generally occurs during the period when there are epidemics (winter) or after a flu.
The use of drugs such as aspirin to treat flu appears to be related to the occurrence of this syndrome, although not scientifically proven. There is no test to detect Reye syndrome.
Signs occurrence of this syndrome are closely related to a previous infection with a virus. Whether it’s about respiratory infection or diarrhea caused by inflammation or flu, symptoms of this syndrome occur a few days after activation of the virus. In many cases, patients are treated without problems, but others need special attention because their condition may worsen.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, body weakness. The child may exhibit irrational behavior and greatly increase his breathing rhythm. If the disease worsens child suffocates, it has dilated pupils and is at risk of going into a coma. The liver is enlarged, fever is rarely seen.
Reye’s syndrome is rare: one case per 100,000 people. It is often suspected in case the child suffered a viral infection and has vomiting or delirious. Although the syndrome varies depending on the seriousness he should be subject to deadly diseases.
Prevention: Aspirin and other drugs based on salicilina not be used to treat influenza or other viral infections. Whatever type of infection, it is recommended to administer a child under 12 years of aspirin. This should be undertaken only if there is a prescription.
Incubation: Reye’s syndrome occurs in a few days (1-14) after a viral infection.
Duration: The duration varies depending on severity. Syndrome sometimes occurs without complications and in time, sometimes even can cause death within hours. This process can be stopped at any stage and the patient recovers within 10 days.
Transmission: The disease that causes the syndrome is contagious; syndrome itself is not transmitted to another individual.