Frequent fever episodes and the risk of febrile seizures: The Generation R Study
Aim: To examine the association between the number of fever episodes and the risk of febrile seizures. Methods: This study was embedded in a population-based prospective cohort study from early foetal life onwards. Information about the occurrence of febrile seizures and fever episodes was collected by questionnaires at the ages of 12, 24 and 36 months. Analyses were based on 3033 subjects. The risk of febrile seizures was compared between children with frequent fever episodes (>2 per year), and children with only 1 or 2 fever episodes per year. Results: The frequency of fever episodes was not associated with the risk of febrile seizures in the age range of 6-12 months. In the second and third year of life, having more than 2 fever episodes was associated with an increased risk of febrile seizures (odds ratios 2.02 [95% confidence interval 1.13-3.62] and 2.29 [95% confidence interval 1.00-5.24], respectively). In the age range between 6 and 36 months, we observed a significant trend between the frequency of fever episodes (<2, 3-4 or >4 per year) and the risk of febrile seizures (p-value for trend < 0.001). The association between the number of fever episodes and the occurrence of febrile seizures was stronger for children with recurrent febrile seizures. Conclusion: Frequent fever episodes are associated with an increased risk of febrile seizures in the second and third years of life. Further studies are needed to identify the mechanisms underlying this association.