Postvaccination Febrile Seizure Severity and Outcome


Febrile seizures (FSs) are a common pediatric condition caused by a sudden rise in temperature, affecting 3% to 5% of children aged ≤6 years. Although vaccination can cause FSs, little is known on whether FSs occurring in the time soon after vaccination (vaccine-proximate febrile seizures [VP-FSs] differ clinically from non–vaccine-proximate febrile seizures [NVP-FSs]). We compared the clinical profile and outcomes of VP-FS to NVP-FS.


Prospective cohort study of children aged ≤6 years presenting with their first FS at 1 of 5 Australian pediatric hospitals between May 2013 and June 2014. Clinical features, management, and outcomes were compared between VP-FS and NVP-FS.


Of 1022 first FS cases (median age 19.8 months; interquartile range 13.6–27.6), 67 (6%) were VP-FSs. When comparing VP-FS to NVP-FS, there was no increased risk of prolonged (>1 day) hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] 1.61; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.84–3.10), ICU admission (OR 0.72; 95% CI 0.10–5.48), seizure duration >15 minutes (OR 1.47; 95% CI 0.73–2.98), repeat FS within 24 hours (OR 0.80; 95% CI 0.34–1.89), or requirement for antiepileptic treatment on discharge (OR 1.81; 95% CI 0.41–8.02). VP-FS patients with a laboratory-confirmed infection (12%) were more likely to have a prolonged admission compared with those without.


VP-FS accounted for a small proportion of all FS hospital presentations. There was no difference in outcomes of VP-FS compared with NVP-FS. This is reassuring data for clinicians and parents of children who experience FS after vaccination and can help guide decisions on revaccination.

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