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Monday 24th October 2016

Cot death link to infection

30th May 2008

Cases of unexplained cot death may be linked to common bacterial infections.


A study carried out by a team from the Great Ormond Street Hospital  has shown that babies who had died for no clear reason were more likely to be carriers of potentially harmful bacteria.

However, the scientists, who published the work in the Lancet, stress that their findings should not mean that current safety advice issued to new parents should be changed.

While the latest search does not fully prove the link between bacteria and cot death, the research team says it suggests a connection.

They took samples from 470 babies who had died suddenly, and tested them for the presence of bacteria, particularly those capable of causing illness, such as Staphylococcus aureus or E. coli.

In some cases, the cause of death was known to be a bacterial infection, or completely unrelated to infection but in the remainder it was unexplained.

One of the study authors Professor Nigel Klein said there were three possible explanations: pure coincidence; a role for bacteria in causing the death; and the presence of bacteria being due to an unrelated factor which increased the risk of cot death.

He said: “We don’t know which one of these is the case, and we certainly can’t say at the moment that these bacteria are causing sudden infant death.?

But he said it was possible that the bacteria may be more likely to be present in children who are exposed to other risk factors, such as smoking.


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