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Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) continues to be a major contributor to infant mortality in the United States. The objective was to analyze time trends in SUID and their association with immunization coverage. The number of deaths and live births per year and per state (1992-2015) was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We calculated infant mortality rates (i.e., deaths below one year of age) per 1000 live births for SUID. We obtained data on immunization in children aged 19-35 months with three doses or more of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (3+ DTP), polio (3+ Polio), and Haemophilus influenzae type b (3+ Hib) as well as four doses or more of DTP (4+ DTP) from the National Immunization Survey, and data on infant sleep position from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) Study. Data on poverty and race were derived from the Current Population and American Community Surveys of the U.S. Census Bureau. We calculated mean SUID mortality rates with 95% confidence interval (CI) as well as the annual percentage change using breakpoint analysis. We used Poisson regression with random effects to examine the dependence of SUID rates on immunization coverage, adjusting for sleep position and poverty (1996-2015). In a second model, we additionally adjusted for race (2000-2015). Overall, SUID mortality decreased in the United States. The mean annual percent change was - 9.6 (95% CI = - 10.5, - 8.6) between 1992 and 1996, and - 0.3 (95% CI = - 0.4, - 0.1) from 1996 onwards. The adjusted rate ratios for SUID mortality were 0.91 (95% CI = 0.80, 1.03) per 10% increase for 3+ DTP, 0.88 (95% CI = 0.83, 0.95) for 4+ DTP, 1.00 (95% CI = 0.90, 1.10) for 3+ polio, and 0.95 (95% CI = 0.89, 1.02) for 3+ Hib. After additionally adjusting for race, the rate ratios were 0.76 (95% CI = 0.67, 0.85) for 3+ DTP, 0.83 (95% CI = 0.78, 0.89) for 4+ DTP, 0.81 (95% CI = 0.73, 0.90) for 3+ polio, and 0.94 (95% CI = 0.88, 1.00) for 3+ Hib. SUID mortality is decreasing, and inversely related to immunization coverage. However, since 1996, the decline has slowed down.


Jacqueline Müller-Nordhorn, Konrad Neumann, Thomas Keil, Stefan N Willich, Sylvia Binting. State-level trends in sudden unexpected infant death and immunization in the United States: an ecological study. BMC pediatrics. 2021 Jun 11;21(1):274

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PMID: 34116653

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