Background and Purpose: Febrile seizures are common in children and are associated with viral infection. Mitigation strategies implemented during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have slowed the spread of all viral illnesses potentially impacting febrile seizure frequency. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of COVID-19 mitigation strategies on the diagnostic frequency of febrile seizures. Methods: This was a retrospective observational cohort study utilizing TriNetX ® electronic health record (EHR) data. We included subjects aged 0 to 5 years of age reported to have a febrile seizure diagnosis. After the query, the study population was divided into 2 groups [pre-COVID-19 (April 1st, 2019 until March 31st, 2020) and COVID-19 (April 1st, 2020 until March 31st, 2021). We analyzed the following data: age, sex, race, diagnostic, medication, and procedural codes. Results: During the pre-COVID time frame, emergency or inpatient encounters made up 688,704 subjects aged 0 to 5 years in the TriNetx database, while in the COVID-19 pandemic time frame, it made up of 368 627 subjects. Febrile seizure diagnosis frequency decreased by 36.1% [2696 during COVID-19 vs 7462 during the pre-COVID-19] and a higher proportion of status epilepticus was coded [72 (2.7%) vs 120 (1.6%)] (P <.001) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitalization, lumbar puncture, critical care services, mechanical ventilation procedural codes were similar between the 2 cohorts. Antimicrobial use was higher in the pre-COVID-19 pandemic group [424 (15.7%) vs 1603 (21.5%)] (P <.001). Conclusions: Less children were diagnosed with febrile seizures during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a higher proportion were coded to have the complex subtype. The medical interventions required with the exception of antimicrobial use was similar. Further study is needed regarding mitigation strategies and its impact on pediatric diseases associated with viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalThe Neurohospitalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology


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