The association between prenatal exposure to maternal specific infections during pregnancy and the subsequent risk of epilepsy in childhood was estimated in a prospective population-based birth cohort in Denmark followed for 8 years at University of Aarhus, Denmark. Of 90619 singletons, 646 children were identified with a diagnosis of epilepsy in the follow-up period. Children exposed to maternal cystitis in each trimester, pyelonephritis, diarrhea lasting >4 days in the first 2 trimesters, coughs, and/or vaginal yeast infection in prenatal life had an increased risk of epilepsy. Cough lasting >1 week was a risk factor only in the first year of life, and vaginal yeast infection only in children born preterm. Genital herpes, venereal warts, and herpes labialis were not risk factors. These associations were not changed in children with cerebral palsy (0.2%), congenital malformation (7.2%), or low Apgar (<7) at 5 minutes (1.8%). [1]

COMMENT. Some maternal infections are associated with an increased risk of epilepsy during childhood. The mechanisms underlying the associations are unknown, but fever and cytokines are possible factors. [2, 3]