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Dravet Syndrome

Children with Dravet syndrome develop severe, fever-related seizures before their first birthday. In addition to other, hard to control seizures, children with Dravet syndrome typically have developmental delays and autism-like characteristics.

Dravet Syndrome

Dravet syndrome was first described by Dr. Charlotte Dravet in 1978.

Later, in 2006, Dr. Samuel Berkovic used mutation screening of the SCN1A gene and found that many adults had Dravet syndrome.

A 2011 case report, Alleged Cases of Vaccine Encephalopathy Rediagnosed Years Later as Dravet Syndrome, replicated Berkovic’s discovery.

“We present here the cases of 5 children who presented for epilepsy care with presumed parental diagnoses of alleged vaccine encephalopathy caused by pertussis vaccinations in infancy. Their conditions were all rediagnosed years later, with the support of genetic testing, as Dravet syndrome.”

Reyes et al on Alleged cases of vaccine encephalopathy rediagnosed years later as Dravet syndrome

In this new case report, researchers looked at “5 cases of alleged vaccine encephalopathy in which the parents of children with developmental delays and medically refractory epilepsy had strong suppositions that their child’s chronic encephalopathy was a result of pertussis immunization received in infancy.”

They include a:

  • 14-year-old mentally retarded boy with autistic features, who was a healthy infant until he got his vaccines when he was 7 months old
  • 20-year-old with delayed development and autistic-like features who began having seizures right after getting vaccines at 2 months
  • 2-year-old with a mild expressive speech delay who developed seizures after getting vaccines at age 4 months
  • 4-year-old with “slowing development” who began having seizures after the six month vaccines
  • 3-year-old regressed development and autistic-like features who began having seizures after getting vaccines at age 4 months
 Genetic testing eventually led to a diagnosis of Dravet syndrome for all five children.

Vaccine Encephalopathy Rediagnosed as Dravet Syndrome

Many children who were once thought to have vaccine injuries, developing seizures after getting the DPT vaccine, have now been found to have Dravet syndrome instead.

Dravet syndrome is a genetic condition.

It is important to note that vaccines don’t cause Dravet syndrome. They don’t cause the genetic mutation that causes Dravet syndrome.

Still, because vaccines can cause fever, getting immunized “might trigger earlier onset of Dravet syndrome in children who, because of an SCN1A mutation, are destined to develop the disease.”

Since fever is the usual trigger of the first seizure and subsequent seizures, it is important that children with Dravet syndrome get all of their vaccines, since natural infections will cause more fever and put them at risk for more seizures.

In another study, A retrospective study of the relation between vaccination and occurrence of seizures in Dravet syndrome, only 16% of patients with Dravet syndrome had a vaccine related seizure as their first manifestation.

The researchers also state “that although vaccination might trigger an earlier onset of the presenting symptoms of Dravet syndrome, there is no evidence that the outcomes, in terms of subsequent seizure types or intellect, are any different between those patients with Dravet syndrome whose symptoms started within 2 days of vaccination and those whose symptom onset was not related temporally to vaccination.”

They suggest testing (SCN1A genetic testing) for patients “with a clinical course suggestive of Dravet syndrome, especially in the context of an onset of symptoms after vaccination, with or without fever.”

Their conclusion is that Dravet syndrome “offers an alternative genetic explanation to refute alleged cases of vaccine encephalopathy.”

This isn’t all about Dravet syndrome though.

As Dr. Max Wizniter says in his commentary “Dravet syndrome and vaccination: when science prevails over speculation,” the “temporal association between a vaccination and infancy-onset epilepsy does not imply causation.”

What has been found out about Dravet syndrome should help parents understand that the same idea applies to the false beliefs that try to associate vaccine side effects with other conditions and which are leading to lower immunization levels.

What to Know About Dravet Syndrome

Dravet syndrome is a genetic condition that has been found to be the cause for many kids developing seizures and developmental problems after their vaccines.

More Information About Dravet Syndrome

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