Bordetella pertussis infections and sudden unexpected deaths in children

Eur J Pediatr. 1996 Jul;155(7):551-3. doi: 10.1007/BF01957903.


From December 1990 to November 1993 nasopharyngeal specimens were obtained for culture from 50 children (mean 4.9 +/- 3.3 months of age) who had died suddenly. Bordetella pertussis was not isolated. Subsequently, nasopharyngeal specimens for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis were obtained from another 51 victims of sudden death (mean 5.4 +/- 4.4 months of age); nine (18%) were B. pertussis positive.

Conclusion: Our findings support previous epidemiological studies which noted an association between epidemic pertussis and sudden infant death syndrome. Further PCR studies with both internal and external controls should be performed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sudden Infant Death / epidemiology*
  • Sudden Infant Death / pathology
  • Whooping Cough / complications*