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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 68-73

Risk factors for febrile seizures in Benghazi, Libya: a case–control study

1 Family and Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Benghazi University, Benghazi, Libya
2 Regional Center for Food and Feed, Agriculture Research Center, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Lamia M Hafez
Associate Professor Regional Center for Food and Feed, Agriculture Research Center, Alexandria, 21616
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AJOP.AJOP_21_17

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Background Febrile seizures (FS) are the most common seizures of childhood, occurring in 2–5% of children at 6 months to 5 years of age. The risk factors for FS include developmental delay, delayed discharge from the neonatal ICU, viral infections, a family history of FS, possibly iron deficiencies, and nonexclusive breastfeeding. Aim This study was carried out to identify and quantify the risk factors for FS in Libyan children. Patients and methods A case–control study was carried out including one hundred patients with FS aged 6–60 months, admitted to Benghazi Paediatrics Hospital, Libya, who were matched with another 100 children with fever, but without seizure of the same age as the control group. The control group was enrolled randomly and the study was carried out over 8 months from 1 October 2016 to 31 May 2017. Data were collected using a pretested questionnaire. Blood samples were collected from both cases and controls and a complete blood count was performed. χ2-Test was used to assess the significance of the risk factors. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were carried out to determine the strength of associations at a 5% level of significance. Results The majority of cases and the children in the control group were between 6 months and less than 25 months of age. It was found that 93% of the cases and 87% of the children in the control group had a temperature higher than 38°C. The most common types of FS for cases were simple FS, which was recorded in 86% of cases, and complex FS, recorded in 14% of cases. A positive family history of FS was reported in 48% of cases compared with 22% of the children in the control group [odds ratio (OR)=3.27, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.77–6.05, P<0.001]. Iron-deficiency anemia was reported in 73% of cases compared with 33% of controls, and this was found to be a strong significant risk factor for FS (OR=5.48, 95% CI: 2.99–10.07, P<0.001). Furthermore, nonexclusive breast-feeding was reported in 66% of cases compared with 32% of controls (OR=4.12, 95% CI: 2.28–7.43, P<0.001); prematurity was reported in 29% of cases compared with 11% of children in the control group (OR=3.30, 95% CI: 1.54–7.07, P<0.001). Conclusion The results of the present study indicated that iron-deficiency anemia, nonexclusive breast-feeding, and a family history of FS and prematurity were the most important risk factors for FS. This study recommends educational programs for modifiable risk factors, encourages exclusive breast feeding in the first 6 months, and early diagnosis and treatment for iron-deficiency anemia in children.

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