About Reye's Syndrome

Reye's syndrome is a rare but potentially fatal syndrome that can cause damage to various organs, especially the brains and liver. The syndrome is associated with the intake of aspirin by children and to viral infections such as chickenpox. It is non-contagious.

The disease occurs mainly in children and adolescents, but there are also cases reported in adults.

The syndrome usually occurs when a person begins to recover from a viral illness. It causes fatty liver (hepatic steatosis or) and severe encephalopathy, accompanied by a swelling of the brains. The liver can enlarge and become firmer. Also, the appearance of the kidneys may change. Jaundice usually does not occur.

Epidemiological studies have found a link between the development of Reye's Syndrome, and the use of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) for the treatment of viral infections. Studies have shown that 90 to 95% of patients with Reye's syndrome aspirin have taken just before or during a viral infection.

Since many diseases have similar symptoms, it is for medical personnel who have no experience with Reye's syndrome is often difficult to make the correct diagnosis. The disease is often misdiagnosed as encephalitis (brain inflammation), meningitis (meningitis), diabetes, drug overdose, poisoning, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or a mental illness. Early diagnosis is vital to prevent serious brain damage or even death. The chance of recovery is mainly determined by the degree of brain swelling.

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