Objective - To clarify clinical characteristics of children with febrile convulsions during primary human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infection. Subjects and methods - The clinical characteristics of first febrile convulsion were compared between those with and without primary HHV-6 infection in 105 children. HHV-6 infection was verified by culture or acute/convalescent anti- HHV-6 antibody titres. Results - Primary infection with HHV-6 was seen in 21 of 105 patients with febrile convulsions (3 upper respiratory infection, 1 lower respiratory infection, and 17 exanthem subitum). 13 of 23 patients < 1 year, 19 of 79 patients with first febrile convulsion, and 2 of 15 with second convulsion were infected with HHV-6. The median age of patients with first febrile convulsion and HHV-6 was significantly lower than those without infection. The frequency of clustering seizures, long lasting seizures, partial seizures, and postictal paralysis was significantly higher among those with primary HHV-6 infection than among those without. The frequency of atypical seizures in 19 patients with first febrile convulsion associated with primary infection was significantly higher than in 60 patients without primary infection. The frequency in infants younger than 1 year of age was also significantly higher than that in 10 age matched infants without primary infection. Conclusions - These findings suggest that primary infection with HHV-6 is frequently associated with febrile convulsions in infants and young children and that it often results in the development of a more severe form of convulsions, such as partial seizures, prolonged seizures, and repeated seizures, and might be a risk factor for subsequent development of epilepsy.
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