The impact of COVID‐19 in Dravet syndrome: A UK survey

Abstract

Objectives

To understand the risks, impact and outcome of COVID‐19 in people affected by Dravet Syndrome (DS).

Materials and Methods

An anonymous cross‐sectional online survey was conducted between June 17 and July 13, 2020, addressed to families of people with DS.

Results

A total of 116 responses were collected, from families of children (n = 86; 74%) and adults (30; 26%) with DS. The majority (106; 91%) were shielded at the family home during lockdown. Symptoms compatible with COVID‐19 were reported in 22 (19%) individuals. Only four individuals with symptoms had a PCR swab test, none of which was positive. Only one symptomatic person had antibody testing (but not swab testing), which was positive. One person had repeatedly positive swab tests whilst in hospital for renal failure, but had no typical symptoms of COVID‐19. In 50% of people with DS who developed possible or probable COVID‐19 symptoms, seizure worsening was reported, in terms of increased seizure frequency or duration or both. Medical attention was required in 9/22 (41%), all of whom were children.

Conclusions

In this cohort of people with DS, we observed an infection rate, determined by compatible symptoms, of 19%, with no deaths and benign outcome in most cases despite the underlying complex epilepsy although children often required medical attention. Early adoption of preventative measures, including testing of symptomatic individuals, regular surveillance for people living in residential care facilities, and shielding of individuals with comorbidities increasing the risk of severe outcome, may limit the impact of COVID‐19.

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