Acute neurological illness in children, following influenza, chickenpox, or other viral infections. Vomiting, lethargy, and confusion begin as the child appears to be recovering. These symptoms are followed hours or days later by drowsiness, disorientation, seizures, respiratory arrest, and coma. At worst, the syndrome includes fatty liver degeneration and potentially fatal brain swelling. There is no specific cure, but treatment of imbalances helps over 70% of patients survive (some with brain damage). The incidence has decreased since the recognition that it often follows use of aspirin or other salicylic acid derivatives in children during a viral illness. It can also result from aflatoxin or warfarin poisoning.
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