Last reviewed 01/2018

A viral cause has been postulated and some outbreaks have appeared to follow influenza or varicella infection.

There is a link between Reye's syndrome and the administration of aspirin to feverish children, and it is for this albeit rare complication that aspirin should not be given to children younger than the age of 12 years. The Committee on Safety of Medicines in the UK also now advise that aspirin should be avoided in children aged 12 to 15 years, if feverish (1).

In familial cases there may be a link with inborn errors of fat and protein metabolism.


  1. Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance (2002), 28, 4.