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Update: Reye Syndrome Pilot Study -- United States, 1984

The results of a pilot study examining the possible relationship between Reye syndrome and medications were recently reported for 29 Reye syndrome patients and 143 controls (1). An independent expert panel that reviewed hospital records for cases included in this analysis has determined that supplemental laboratory and autopsy results obtained for one additional patient, originally excluded because of insufficient information, are consistent with the diagnosis of Reye syndrome.

Analysis of medication data for the 30 patients, including information obtained for this case and its matched controls, revealed that 28 (93%) of 30 cases (compared with the originally reported 28 (97%) of 29 cases) were exposed to salicylates during antecedent respiratory or chickenpox illnesses (and before a clinically defined onset of Reye syndrome), compared with 28% of emergency room, 23% of inpatient, 59% of school, and 51% of random digit-dialing controls matched for similar antecedent illnesses. The association between Reye syndrome and salicylates remains statistically significant. Reported by the Reye Syndrome Task Force, consisting of members from US Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, and CDC.


  1. CDC. Reye syndrome--United States, 1984. MMWR 1985;34:13-6.

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