Study reveals causes of childhood brain infections

A report published in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases today has discussed the leading causes for childhood brain infections.

The nationwide study was a joint venture led by Dr Phillip Britton and the team at Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney.

The study looked at identifying the causes, features and outcome of encephalitis or brain infections leading to disability in children.

Over three years more than 700 children were involved in the investigation with 526 cases of suspected encephalitis and 287 with confirmed encephalitis Dr Britton said the report led to some definitive findings.

“We found that epidemic outbreaks of viruses and immune diseases were a major cause of brain inflammation and infection in young Australian Children,” he said.

“Some of these causes were vaccine-preventable – for example, influenza. While other causes were from emerging new infections like enterovirus and human parechovirus.”

Encephalitis can often present with no symptoms but can also display flu-like symptoms as well as fatigue and muscle weakness.

NSW Health encourages all families to ensure their children are vaccinated.

Children aged between six months and five years of age are entitled to the influenza vaccine for free.

For more information, visit one of our Immunisation services.

Read the full study.