Enterovirus in sudden unexpected deaths in infants

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1996 Feb;15(2):123-8. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199602000-00007.


Background: Conventional approaches to virus detection failed to provide convincing evidence of a viral etiology in sudden unexplained deaths in infants (SUDI). Many viruses may not have been detected by the routinely used methods; among them enteroviruses (EV) have seldom been found in SUDI.

Methods: In this study EV were sought directly in stools, in pharyngeal and tracheal samples and in myocardial and lung tissues, by using a nested PCR; they were also sought indirectly by detecting IgM antibodies with a new capture immunoassay. Twenty-four SUDI cases were divided into two groups: Group I, certainly associated with; or Group II, not associated with clinical, biologic or histologic signs of viral infection.

Results: EV were found in stools but their prevalence was not significantly different between Group I and Group II (20 and 22.2%, respectively). On the contrary EV were detected in respiratory tract and/or lung samples in 53.8% of infants of Group I and in none of Group II. Anti-EV IgM antibodies were detected in 55.5% of infants of Group I and in none of Group II.

Conclusions: These results indicate that EV infection may be specifically associated with the subgroup of SUDI with viral signs, raising the question of its role in this condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enterovirus Infections / complications*
  • Enterovirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Enterovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology*