Four infants, apparently thriving and without clinical evidence of disease, died suddenly at ages ranging from 2 to 6 months. Inclusions bearing cells pathognomonic of cytomegalovirus infection were shown microscopically in a small number of extraneural organs. In view of the lack of associated tissue destruction on microscopy and the apparent well being of the infants before death whether the function of these organs had been impaired to any important degree was questionable: such limited disease, consequently, could not have contributed substantially to the cause of death. The brainstem, on the other hand, consistently showed small numbers of glial nodules. Damage to strategically located neurones associated potentially with the organisation of vital function was a possible basis of sudden death. Alternatively, the small number of glial nodules may have represented a residue of previous more severe brainstem disease, which had possibly started while the baby was in the uterus.
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