In 276 children admitted to hospital with febrile convulsions a wide range of virus types was identified by means of nasopharyngeal secretions and cough/nasal swabs. The overall virus identification rate was 49%. Analysis of age, sex, family history, and past history showed no marked differences between the virus-positive and the virus-negative children. More than 80% had symptoms of respiratory infection in association with their convulsions, whether or not a virus was identified. Convulsions were not apparently more severe in the virus-positive group. Rapid virus diagnosis was found helpful in the management of children with febrile convulsions. The virus aetiology of many febrile convulsions has implications both for hospital cross-infection and for research into methods of prevention.
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