Reye syndrome is a rare condition that affects the normal chemical balance in the body, resulting in potential damage to all organs, but primarily the brain and liver. As the inflammation in the brain increases, the pressure inside of the head may also increase. The increased pressure in the head causes neurological changes in the child.
It has a very rapid onset that can cause a child to go into a coma, or can result in death within hours of the symptoms.
What causes Reye syndrome?
The exact cause of Reye syndrome is unknown. The more common cases of Reye syndrome are associated with a viral infection from the following sources:
- respiratory infection - 60 to 75 percent of cases
- chickenpox - 15 to 30 percent of cases
- diarrhea - 10 to 15 percent of cases
This condition is basically considered a children's disease, although it can occur at any age. Reye syndrome usually affects children between the ages of 4 and 12, and is most common at age 6.