May 30, 2008

Bacteria Linked to Infant Deaths

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of one. British researchers have found that bacteria may play a big part in SIDS. They found possibly dangerous bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli, in almost half of all babies who died of SIDS.

Researchers are not sure if bacteria are the cause or if the bacteria are identifying other possible risk factors. The higher levels of bacteria might be evidence of other conditions, such as a room being too hot or bad room ventilation for the baby.

SIDS is usually diagnosed when there aren’t any other causes of death that can be found when a healthy infant dies, usually in their sleep. At birth, mothers transfer some of their antibodies against infection to their babies but when the babies are between eight to ten weeks old, the antibodies from the mother are nearly gone and the babies have to start making their own. This could make the babies more vulnerable to bacterial infections. SIDS usually affects babies that are between eight and ten weeks old.

To prevent SIDS it is recommended to have babies sleep on their backs and to not put too many blankets on them.

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