Vaccination Management in an Asymptomatic Child With a Novel SCN1A Variant and Family History of Status Epilepticus Following Vaccination: A Case Report on a Potential New Direction in Personalised Medicine

Seizure. 2020 May;78:49-52. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2020.03.005. Epub 2020 Mar 16.


Purpose: SCN1A variants cause a spectrum of epilepsy syndromes from Dravet Syndrome, a severe epileptic encephalopathy of early infancy to the milder disorder of genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+). These genetic epilepsies are associated with increased risk of poor outcome including complications of status epilepticus and early mortality. Individualised management of young children known to be at increased risk should be considered, such as around vaccination management.

Methods: We describe two siblings with a novel pathogenic SCN1A variant, their management and clinical outcomes following routine childhood vaccinations.

Results: The index case who had a family history of epilepsy of unknown genetic aetiology, died from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy following his 12-month vaccinations, in the context of status epilepticus and enterovirus 71 infection. The sibling of the index case with the same SCN1A variant was subsequently managed with prophylactic regular sodium valproate and additional clobazam post vaccination to reduce the risk of seizure. She has successfully completed the childhood immunisations to 18 months with no seizures and normal neurodevelopmental progress.

Conclusion: As the aetiology of genetic epilepsies is increasingly known in early childhood, opportunities to personalise care, minimise risks and optimise outcomes are changing. Further research is needed on the risks and benefits of symptomatic and preventative management of seizures around vaccinations in young children with genetic epilepsies.

Keywords: Case report; Clinical epilepsy; SCN1A; Status epilepticus; Vaccination.