The aim of the present study was to compare partial deletions of the complement C4 gene in victims of totally unexplained sudden infant death (SID) (n = 89) and borderline SID (n = 15) with and without slight infections prior to death, in cases of infectious death (n = 19), and in living infants with and without infections (n = 84). The SID and borderline SID groups were pooled. In this total SID group slight infections prior to death was associated with deletion of either the C4A or the C4B gene (P = 0.033), and the SID victims with such infections had a higher deletion frequency than the controls (P = 0.039). There were no differences between the living infants with and without upper airway infections.
Conclusion: The present study confirms that partial deletions of the C4 gene in combination with slight upper airway infections may be a risk factor in sudden infant death.