The exact cause of Reye's syndrome is unknown, although several factors may play a role in its development. Reye's syndrome seems to be triggered by using aspirin to treat a viral illness or infection — particularly flu (influenza) and chickenpox — in children and teenagers who have an underlying fatty acid oxidation disorder.
Fatty acid oxidation disorders are a group of inherited metabolic disorders in which the body is unable to break down fatty acids because an enzyme is missing or not working properly. A screening test is needed to determine if your child has a fatty acid oxidation disorder.
In some cases, Reye's syndrome may be an underlying metabolic condition that's unmasked by a viral illness. Exposure to certain toxins — such as insecticides, herbicides and paint thinner — also may contribute to Reye's syndrome.
Aug. 12, 2014
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 25, 2014.
- Cherry JD, et al. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 25, 2014.
- NINDS Reye's syndrome information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/reyes_syndrome/reyes_syndrome.htm. Accessed May 25, 2014.
- What is Reye's syndrome? National Reye's Syndrome Foundation. http://www.reyessyndrome.org/what.html. Accessed May 25, 2014.
- Chiriboga CA. Acute toxic-metabolic encephalopathy in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 25, 2014.
- Reye's syndrome. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/miscellaneous_disorders_in_infants_and_children/reyes_syndrome.html. Accessed May 26, 2014.
- Medications containing aspirin (acetylsalicylate) and aspirin-like products. National Reye's Syndrome Foundation. http://www.reyessyndrome.org/. Accessed May 28, 2014.
- Renaud DL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 2, 2014.
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