10% of children with acute brain syndrome die after COVID infection in Japan

10% of children with acute brain syndrome die after COVID infection in Japan

More than 10 percent of children in Japan with developed acute brain syndrome after infection with COVID 19 have died, according to a nationwide survey by a health ministry research team.

The survey found 34 cases of acute encephalopathy associated with COVID 19 infection among those under 18 between January 2020 and May 2022. The team analyzed 31 patients who didn't have any underlying illnesses that could be responsible for the brain disease.

Fourteen of the 31 children recovered, four died, and eight were confirmed with complications. Five of the eight were reported to have severe aftereffects, including unconsciousness and bedridden in need of care.

The primary symptoms included seizures, which were experienced by about half of the patients, impaired consciousness, and abnormal speech or behavior.

We would advise you to go to a hospital quickly. If convulsions occur with a fever don't stop in 10 minutes, loss of consciousness continues, or strange behavior is noticed, said Junichi Takanashi, a professor in pediatric neurology at Tokyo Women's Medical University Yachiyo Medical Center.

Most of the patients developed acute encephalopathy in January 2022 or later when the Omicron strain of the coronaviruses became prevalent.

There was no major difference in the ratio of those who developed the brain symptoms among COVID-infected children before and after 2022, indicating that Omicron is not necessarily making it easier for the brain disease to develop, according to the study.

The development of acute encephalopathy among children is not limited to COVID-infection and is also known to affect those who have contracted influenza.