Reye Syndrome

What Is It?

Reye syndrome is a very rare disorder that damages many parts of the body, especially the brain and the liver. For unknown reasons, the parts of the cells that make energy (mitochondria) stop working correctly, which causes severe illness. The most serious problems are swelling of the brain and problems with the breakdown of fat, which results in build up in the liver and other organs. The illness can be fatal, especially if not detected early and treated appropriately.

Although Reye syndrome can occur at any age, it most often affects children between the ages of 3 and 12.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »