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Falling admissions to hospital with febrile seizures in the UK
  1. Kirsty Mccrorie1,
  2. Joshua Thorburn1,
  3. Joseph Symonds2,
  4. Stephen W Turner1
  1. 1 Department of Child Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  2. 2 Fraser of Allander Neurosciences Unit, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Stephen W Turner, Department of Child Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK; s.w.turner{at}


Objectives There was a reduction in febrile seizure admissions in Scotland after 2008. Our hypothesis was that a similar trend would be seen in other countries.

Methods We obtained the number of febrile and non-febrile seizure admissions in England and Scotland 2000–2013 and the incidence of all seizure admissions 2000–2013 in European countries. We compared the incidence of admission for febrile seizure (Scotland and England) and all seizures (all countries) between 2000–2008 and 2009–2013.

Results The incidence of febrile seizure admissions per 1000 children in 2009–2013 was lower than 2000–2008 in Scotland (0.79 vs 1.08, p=0.001) and England (0.92 vs 1.20, p<0.001). The incidence of all seizure admissions (but not non-febrile seizures) was lower in 2009–2013 compared with 2000–2008 in Scotland (1.84 vs 2.20, p=0.010) and England (2.71 vs 2.91, p=0.001). Across 12 European countries (including the UK), there was no difference in all seizure admissions after 2008. We explored the possibility that the fall was related to the introduction of routine pneumococcal vaccination in 2006 but there were insufficient data.

Conclusion A fall in admissions for febrile (but not afebrile) seizures after 2008 in Scotland and England explains a fall in all emergency admissions for seizure. A fall in all seizure admissions has not occurred in other European countries, and more research is required to understand the different outcomes in the UK and non-UK countries.

  • epidemiology
  • health services research
  • neurology

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  • Contributors JS made the initial observation. KM and JT collected data for analysis. SWT analysed data and wrote the first version of the manuscript. All authors made meaningful contributions to the final manuscript. SWT is the guarantor of the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Permission to use the ISD data was obtained from the Public Benefit and Privacy Panel for Health and Social Care (the Caldicott guardian for NHS Scotland) and the North of Scotland Research Ethics Committee. Ethics approval was not sought to use the publicly available Hospital Episode Statistics and WHO data.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data from England and Europe are publicly available. Data from Scotland were released conditional on them not being shared. Data from Scotland are available by applying to the Information Services Division.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.