Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Infant mortality in Hungary was higher than in other European countries; however, the reported incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has been lower than those for Western Europe and the United States. Childhood immunisation has been reported to be a protective factor for SIDS. In Britain, the change to an earlier immunisation schedule for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus appeared to be associated with a shift in the age distribution of SIDS. In 1999, immunisation for Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was introduced for Hungarian infants at the age of 2 months. Data for total infant mortality and SIDS in Hungary were analysed between 1990 and 2002. Infection was the major cause of death among Hungarian infants followed by SIDS. Following introduction of Hib immunisation, there was a decrease in deaths due to meningitis from an average of 3.5% of all infant deaths between 1990 and 1998 to an average of 1% of all infant deaths between 1999 and 2002 (p=0.00). There was also a significant decrease in the proportion of SIDS in the age range ≥2 months from 48% in the earlier period to 39% after introduction of the vaccine (p=0.03). The decrease in SIDS might be due in part to decrease in unrecognised Hib infections or to induction of antibodies by the tetanus toxoid to which the Hib polysaccharide is conjugated that are cross reactive with bacterial toxins implicated in SIDS.
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