Febrile convulsions defined as a convulsion associated with a rectal temperature of 38°C or more are common in children under 4 years: about 3% of children will have had one before reaching school age. The susceptibility to febrile convulsions is probably inherited as a dominant trait.1 Although most children who get febrile convulsions cease to have seizures of any kind as they grow older, prolonged or severe convulsions may sometimes lead to permanent sequelae. About 17% of children whose first fit occurs with fever will later have attacks when afebrile.2 3 These patients have a relatively high incidence of abnormal neurological signs and perinatal abnormalities including mental and motor retardation before the first fit.2 3 Perinatal abnormalities of the CNS increase the liability to any type of epilepsy, be it post-traumatic, due to metabolic causes, or associated with fever.
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