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The nasopharyngeal bacterial flora in infancy: effects of age, gender, season, viral upper respiratory tract infection and sleeping position.

Harrison, Linda M. and Morris, James A. and Telford, David R. and Brown, Susan M. and Jones, Keith (1999) The nasopharyngeal bacterial flora in infancy: effects of age, gender, season, viral upper respiratory tract infection and sleeping position. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology, 25 (1-2). pp. 19-28. ISSN 0928-8244

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Abstract

The aim of the investigation was to determine the effect of age, gender, viral upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), season and sleeping position on the composition of the nasopharyngeal bacterial flora in infancy. Seventy-two babies, 38 male and 34 female, whose birthdates were evenly spread throughout the year were followed from birth to 18 months of age. From 0 to 6 months nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained once a month in periods without URTI and daily for 3 days during episodes of URTI. From 12 to 18 months of age nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained in the early morning after an overnight sleep and later in the day after the baby had been up for over 2 h. Swabs were obtained in prone and supine sleepers with and without infection. In infants aged 0–6 months URTI had little effect on the nasopharyngeal bacterial flora, but there was a marked effect of age and less marked effect of season and gender. In particular Staphylococcus aureus carriage decreased with age, was most common in the winter months and the density of colonisation was greater in males than females. In infants aged 12–18 months the combination of prone sleeping with URTI and an early morning swab led to increased carriage of staphylococci, streptococci, Haemophilus influenzae and Gram-negative bacilli which are not normally part of the nasopharyngeal flora. These results are relevant to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The combination of prone sleeping and URTI reproduces the nasopharyngeal flora seen in SIDS. Gram-negative bacilli isolated from SIDS cases should not be dismissed as post-mortem contaminants. The features of S. aureus make it a prime candidate for a pathogenic role in SIDS.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sudden infant death syndrome • Nasopharyngeal bacterium • Prone sleeping • Bacterial toxin
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 10493
Deposited By: Dr Keith Jones
Deposited On: 16 Jul 2008 11:59
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 10:52
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/10493

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