An infectious aetiology of sudden infant death syndrome

J Appl Microbiol. 2008 Sep;105(3):625-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2008.03747.x. Epub 2008 Feb 6.


Due attention has been given to infectious agents and immune responses to infection in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It has been acknowledged that the pathological, epidemiological and genotypic findings in SIDS infants suggest an infectious aetiology possibly being potentiated by immunoregulatory polymorphisms, however, the cause of SIDS is a mystery and remains open to debate. Consistent pathological findings are seen which display similarities to the pathogenesis of toxaemic shock and/or sepsis. The major risk factors for SIDS parallel those for increased colonization and serious bacterial infections and the natural variation in the incidence of SIDS cases is typical of an infectious disease. The roles played by viral infection, immunoregulatory genes and suspected bacterial species are discussed herein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / complications*
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inflammation
  • Sepsis / complications
  • Sepsis / immunology
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology*
  • Sudden Infant Death / genetics
  • Sudden Infant Death / immunology