Bacteria linked with unexplained SIDS

Bacterial infection may play a bigger role in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than previously believed, claim re-searchers from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Retrospective study covered post-mortem data of 546 SIDS cases between 1996 and 2005.

Cases were documented as having an infectious or non- infectious cause, with 19 per cent having no known cause.

But in half of all cases of unexplained SIDS, potentially pathogenic bacteria were cultivated at levels similar to that recorded in SIDS cases with a known pathogen cause. Specifically, 16 per cent of cultures from the unexplained SIDS group contained Staphylococcus aureus and 6 per cent Escherichia coli.

These bacteria could be associated with the condition, say the researchers.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

Lancet 2008; 371: 1,848-53

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