Rare brain abscesses spiked in kids last winter, CDC finds

Rare brain abscesses in children sharply increased last winter amid a surge in respiratory infections, a June 2 CDC report shows.

In 2022, physicians in states such as Nevada, California and New York reported seeing an uptick in cases of the rare condition, prompting a CDC investigation. 

CDC's preliminary analysis, which looked at cases through May 2022, suggested case fluctuations were within normal ranges, according to CNN. However, the agency's latest update confirms that cases substantially increased last winter and through this spring. 

For its analysis, CDC researchers analyzed data on brain abscesses from 2016 through March 2023 using data from 37 children's hospitals nationwide. The data is collected in a database run by the Children's Hospital Association. 

Four findings:

1. Between 2016 and 2019, the average monthly number of pediatric brain abscesses was 34 and the highest monthly figure ever seen was 61.

2. This figure fell during the pandemic when people were social distancing but rebounded in the summer of 2021 as Americans resumed normal activities. 

3. In December 2022, a record 102 cases were reported to the database following a large surge of respiratory illnesses in children.

4. This figure has fallen between February and March of this year, but still remains above the pre-pandemic monthly maximum. 

"Despite these observed increases, pediatric intracranial infections remain rare," CDC said. "These infections are often preceded by viral respiratory infection and sinusitis, and recent trends might be driven by concurrent, heightened pediatric respiratory pathogen transmission."

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars