Reye syndrome

Last revised by Joshua Yap on 18 Jul 2022

Reye syndrome is a rare pediatric condition characterized by acute onset encephalopathy, severe vomiting and fatty liver failure. It typically presents in children recovering from a viral illness, most commonly influenza or chickenpox 1


Reye syndrome is usually seen between the ages of 5 and 14 2


The disease is very strongly associated with recent salicylate therapy. For this reason, administration of aspirin to children is usually contraindicated, and reserved only for specific scenarios 3

Treatment and prognosis

Treatment is supportive, often involving ICU care. Mortality from Reye syndrome is 20-40%. 

History and etymology

The disease was first described by the Australian pathologist Ralph Douglas Kenneth Reye in 1963 2


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