Health Team

Reports of encephalitis linked to H1N1

Posted November 10, 2009

WRAL Health Team

— Children are among those hit hard in the H1N1 outbreak, and health officials are now keeping an eye on a potentially deadly complication.

Jeff and Angie Turachak say they almost lost their son, Anthony, when the flu virus led to encephalitis, a critical brain infection.

Reports of encephalitis linked to H1N1 Reports of encephalitis linked to H1N1

"It was the like the worst thing you could think of," Jeff Turachak said. "Time comes like this, and you just don't know what to do. Here you are helpless."

After a few days of fever, Angie Turachak took her son to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh as a precaution. Within the hour, he was in the intensive care unit.

"They did the CAT scan and saw inflammation on his brain," she said.

After a handful of similar pediatric cases in Texas this past spring, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report about a potential connection between H1N1 and encephalitis.

It is not monitoring for cases nationwide.

"It's certainly concerning. Most of these are previously well children," said Dr. Ericka Fink, of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "This is part of the emerging disease of H1N1 that we need to better understand."

There can be long-term neurological damage as a result.

But Anthony's prognosis is good.

"He is getting better, and we are happy he's still here," his mother said.

Still, his parents say they aren't leaving his side until he's well enough to play with his toys.

Parents should call their pediatrician if their child is developing flu-like symptoms or for advice on when they should be taken to a hospital for emergency care.


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  • Orange RN Nov 13, 2009

    I know that it can be scary. As you suggest Animal Lover, there are many ways to support our immune systems. We all should be taking good care of ourselves and our children.

    However, to suggest that this pandemic is created to increase Pharma’s profits is absurd. The drug companies make much more money from popular drugs like Viagra and statins than they do from flu vaccine. Vaccine production is unprofitable; there are few companies left that will make vaccine. However, vaccines are one of our best tools for prevention of illness.

    Influenza pandemics happen; this is just the first since 1968. If you are old enough to remember 1968, this pandemic may seem different; our tools are better now to track it. Our media is more oriented to sensationalist headlines and people have access to the internet. There is more discussion and awareness.

    Keep it all in perspective. Most of us will survive and be just fine, regardless of whether we choose to be vaccinated or not.

  • CestLaVie Nov 12, 2009

    Gee. It's funny how the article did NOT state if this child had the H1N1 vaccine. Ya think that was a deliberate omission?

    I throw this out there because I wouldn't be surprised if this child developed the encephalitis because of the vaccine, rather than because of the virus itself.

    Anyone who has read anything by Dr Russell Blaylock knows the neurological damage done by many man-made substances introduced into the body through vaccines, food addititives, etc. His opinion goes against the CDC, FDA & WHO are attempting to brainwash millions to accept this great hoax.....medical caregivers & experts you, Orange RN.

    The cattle keep following each other down the road to their sick, diseased oblivion while Big Pharma reaps billions in profits, again & again.

    There ARE other answers to this, but nobody wants to hear them or heed them, least of all those in the medical field who've been brainwashed since training.

    Lots of people have immunity-open your eyes.

  • Orange RN Nov 12, 2009

    CDC just updated their estimates of H1N1 impact.

  • Orange RN Nov 12, 2009

    My heart goes out to the parents. I wish the family well.

    As far as our self-styled ‘expert’ sixnitepkg - I am sorry to learn that you are in a health care education position as you are spouting nonsense.

    This H1N1 flu is different because
    1- Few people have immunity, therefore more people will become ill from it than seasonal flu strains that have circulated for years.
    2- It is affecting a younger age group than seasonal flu, the number of flu-associated pediatric deaths this year is unprecedented.
    3 – It is more likely to cause primary viral pneumonia than seasonal flu
    4- It is causing epidemic levels of influenza well before the typical flu season.

  • sixnitepkg Nov 11, 2009

    sorry, but the morbitity and mortality patterns of the swine flu and "seasonal flu" are EXACTLY THE SAME (with the notable exception that the seasonal flu kills an average of 36,000 per flu season(4 months) in the U.S. and swine flu has killed a TENTH as many in TWICE THE AMMONT OF TIME). I have educated myself, I have direct access to CDC and WHO data you may be a "home staging expert" but I happen to be a "health care education expert" and I work in a local ER...

  • TeresaBee Nov 11, 2009

    Again what makes this flu different is it affects children the most. Why is that so hard to understand. Educate yourself and your children and don't cut your nose to spite your face.

  • sixnitepkg Nov 11, 2009

    WOW!! reaching deep now aren't we!! one of the more common forms of encephalitis is cause by the CHICKEN POX!!! C'mon!!!! the media produced swine flu scare is being routinely debunked by the EXPERTS presenting the FACTS that swine flu has killed less people in 8 months world-wide than an average flu season kills in 3-4 months in the U.S. alone, and now because one kid developes encephalitis the media is going to throw THAT out there and for absolutely NO REASON going to scare people EVEN MORE?? read the article folks - there is NO OTHER CONFIRMED CASE of H1N1 associated encephalitis, and the CDC has admitted that they DO NOT KNOW how many MILLIONS of cases of this so-called "new" H1N1 subtype flu that they've missed because symptoms were SO MILD that people thought it was just a bad cold, got over it in a week WITHOUT ANY TREATMENT AT ALL and never even went to the doctor!!