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June 24, 1950


JAMA. 1950;143(8):728-730. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910430020007

For the purposes of this discussion a febrile convulsion is defined as a major seizure precipitated by a nonspecific fever of variable degree in a person with a potential convulsive disorder. The convulsion is always a major seizure. The degree of the inciting fever varies with each child and with other circumstances. The assumption of a potential convulsive disorder is based on the common knowledge among general practitioners that convulsions are not common in children and that when they occur it is usually in families which have a history of convulsions.1 In 25,000 admissions to the Milwaukee Children's Hospital the incidence of convulsions was less than 2 per cent.2 This figure is weighted by a large number of convulsive patients admitted for study. Therefore, when less than 2 children from 100 with similar complaints and, usually, fever respond with convulsions, it may be assumed that there is an intrinsic defect