The role of infection and inflammation in sudden infant death syndrome.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the most common cause of post-neonatal mortality in the developed world. The exact cause of SIDS is likely to be multifactorial involving a critical developmental period, a vulnerable infant, and one or more triggers. Many SIDS infants have a history of viral illness preceding death. Prone sleep position, one of the leading risk factors, can increase airway temperature, as well as stimulate bacterial colonization and bacterial toxin production. Markers of infection and inflammation are often found on autopsy along with microbial isolates. Although the causal link between infection and SIDS is not conclusive, there is evidence that an infectious insult could be a likely trigger of SIDS in some infants.
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