Infection, ethnic groups and sudden infant death syndrome:Explaining the risk factors.



Caroline Blackwell 1, Abdulaziz Zorgani 2, Abdulhamid Alkout 3, Omar El Ahmer 3.

1-Newcastle University, Newcastle, Australia, 2-Faculty of Medicine, Al-fateh Medical Univeristy, Tripoli-Libya 3-Medical Technology Faculty, Al-fateh Medical Univeristy, Tripoli-Libya

Libyan J Infect Dis. Vol. 2, No.1. Jan-2008:1-9


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) remains the major cause of post neonatal mortality in countries where thorough autopsies and investigations of these deaths occur. The incidence of SIDS is higher among some ethnic groups, and among these groups there are also high incidences of serious infectious diseases. The risk factors for SIDS parallel those for susceptibility to infection. One current hypothesis for SIDS is that the deaths are due to overwhelming pro-inflammatory responses to bacterial toxins. During inflammatory responses to sepsis or toxins, the cytokines induced in response to the infectious agent cause physiological changes leading to death. The genetic, developmental and environmental risk factors for SIDS are reviewed in relation to 1) colonisation of infants by potentially harmful bacteria and 2) induction of the inflammatory responses of non-immune infants to micro-organisms or their products.

Keywords: SIDS, infection, smoking, interleukins.