Background: Adenovirus is a common pathogen in the pediatric population. No reports systemically evaluated central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction associated with adenovirus. Objective: To describe the detailed clinical features of adenovirus-associated CNS dysfunction in children. Study design: Of 3298 children with a throat virus culture positive for adenovirus treated at a university-affiliated hospital, from January 2000 to June 2008, in northern Taiwan, medical charts were retrospectively reviewed and those with CNS dysfunction were included. Results: 109 (3.3%) children had signs or symptoms of CNS dysfunction on admission. The median age was 3.6 years and 81 (76%) were less than 5 years of age. 64 (59%) were male. The most frequently cited CNS symptoms were seizure (64%), altered state of consciousness (13%), visual hallucination (9.3%) and lethargy (7.5%). The most common diagnoses included febrile seizure (48%), encephalitis (26%), afebrile seizure (11%) and meningitis/meningismus (8.3%). 31 (46%) of 67 patients receiving electroencephalogram examination had abnormal findings and 13 (36%) of 36 with image studies had abnormal findings. Ninety-nine (91%) children returned to normal health, 7 (6.4%) had a sequel of seizure disorder, and 3 (2.7%) had major sequelae and none died. Nine serotypes were identified, with three major serotypes (types 3, 2 and 1). Conclusion: CNS dysfunction was identified in 3.3% of children with adenoviral infection and most occurred in those <5 years old. The clinical prognosis seemed well. However, CNS dysfunction is a potentially serious complication of adenovirus infection in children.
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