(Received 28 February 1992; accepted 4 May 1992)
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Invasive bacterial disease due to Haemophilus influenzae is a cause of sudden death in children. It must be considered by medical examiners when a child dies with a fulminant course and nonspecific symptoms. Three fatal cases are presented in children 7 weeks to 15 months of age. Two had meningitis and petechiae or purpura. All three had bilateral adrenal hemorrhage and a rapidly fatal course.
The potential for rapid and accurate diagnosis of H. influenzae infection is widely available due to latex agglutination technique against bacterial capsular wall antigens. Diagnosis is critical because of its public-health implications. Up to 50% of cases may be acquired in day-care settings. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for household and day care contacts. With the recent introduction of Haemophilus b conjugate vaccines for routine administration to infants beginning at 2 months of age, a change in the epidemiology of the disease is anticipated.
Medical Student, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO
Chief Medical Examiner, Office of the Medical Examiner and University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO
City Medical Examiner, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Queens Hospital Center, Jamaica, NY
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