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Vaccine. 1994 Mar;12(4):365-8.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): are common bacterial toxins responsible, and do they have a vaccine potential?

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Department of Community Medicine, University of Adelaide, Australia.


Despite extensive research, no unifying concept has satisfactorily explained the cause of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The details are briefly outlined of some of the evidence supporting the hypothesis that common bacterial toxins are important in the aetiology of SIDS. These bacterial toxins act as triggers to initiate a biochemical cascade resulting in death. Data from four research groups, each working independently, indicated that the bacteria Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus spp. and Enterococcus spp. were present in higher numbers in infants who had suffered SIDS than in control infants. Certainly more detailed studies need to be performed on the role of bacterial infections in infants. There are many implications arising from this work, particularly the use of vaccination as a means of reducing infections, and consequently the number of SIDS deaths.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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