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December 1981

Toxin-Producing Bacteria in Infants: Lack of an Association With Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing (Dr Gurwith); the Department of Pathology, University of Kansas Medical School, Kansas City (Dr Langston); and the Veterans Administration, Wadsworth Medical Center, Los Angeles (Ms Citron).

Am J Dis Child. 1981;135(12):1104-1106. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1981.02130360012006

• After finding enterotoxigenic (ET) Escherichia coli in two consecutive cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), we initiated a prospective search for ET E coli in SIDS in Manitoba; in addition, we looked for toxigenic Clostridium botulinum and C difficile. In a 21-month period, small- and large-bowel contents were obtained in 33 cases of SIDS, from 32 control subjects, and in ten suspected cases of SIDS. Neither C botulinum nor ET E coli was isolated from any of these; C difficile was cultured from postmortem bowel contents of two SIDS and seven control cases. The overall isolation rate of C difficile was 17%. Despite the fact that two of these cases had toxin detectable in the bowel contents, no evidence of colitis was found in any of the cases with C difficile. We conclude that C botulinum or ET E coli have only a small role, if any, in the etiology of SIDS, and that C difficile is found relatively commonly in the gastrointestinal tract of infants without apparent local or systemic effects.

(Am J Dis Child 1981;135:1104-1106)

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