(HealthDay News) — Minor infections appear to have a strong, but short-lived, effect on pediatric stroke risk, according to a study published online August 20 in Neurology.

Nancy K. Hills, PhD, from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues evaluated data from 102 children with arterial ischemic stroke (AIS) and 306 age-matched controls identified from a large integrated health care plan (1993–2007). All medical visits for minor infection within the two years prior to AIS or index date for pairwise age-matched controls were abstracted. Severe infection (e.g., sepsis, meningitis) were excluded.

The researchers found that the strongest association between infection and AIS was seen for infectious visits no more than three days prior to stroke (odds ratio [OR], 12.1; P=0.002), after adjusting for known pediatric stroke risk factors. Most case infections (80%) were respiratory infections. For all time periods of four or more days prior to the stroke, cases tended to have more infectious visits. The risk of AIS was not increased with a greater cumulative number of infectious visits over two years.

“The transient effect of infection in children may suggest a greater role for a prothrombotic mechanism,” the authors write.

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