The flu vaccine should be given to children with a severe form of epilepsy due to the high risk of seizures being triggered by an influenza infection, a study suggests.
The research involved children with SCN1A-positive Dravet syndrome who had a confirmed influenza infection. Researchers found that 21 children caught influenza 24 times, with brain complications reported in 88% of cases.
All presented to hospital, with 75% recovering quickly, but death or long-term brain complications occurred in one in five infections. Between them they received 60 influenza vaccinations, with most tolerating the vaccine well.
Lead author Dr Katherine Howell conceded that concerns about giving the flu vaccine and incomplete routine immunisations are common in this patient group, but said that despite the risk of seizures after vaccination, the benefits of flu vaccines for these children far outweighs the risks of seizures being triggered following vaccination.
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