Hundreds of children are dying on an annual basis from a mystery ailment. The illness is leaving grieving parents distraught and medical professionals mystified.
The illness has a name: Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood. The name’s ambiguity frustrates most anyone who encounters hearing it. But at this juncture, the name is sadly deserved. Cases of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood are on the rise, with no cure in sight. But you can’t have a cure to something you have no idea what it is or how it begins.
What we do know is that Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood, or SUDC, affects children ages 1-4. But the ceiling age can be as high as 18 years of age. In 2015, the illness took the lives of 393 kids, all under the age of 18. Most of these deaths were in the 1-4 toddler range. There is very little scientific research dedicated to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.
SUDC takes children while they sleep. Most every reported death begins with a parent who thought their child to be sleeping, only to find them passed away. This week, NBC Chicago reported the passing of Luke Zachara, who’s death certificate now reads Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.
“He was the sweetest baby. We called him sweet little Lukie, sweet baby boy,” Luke’s mother Jordana Zachara told NBC 5.
“The day started out pretty normal,” she continued.
Efforts to save the child’s life were futile. The absurdity in Luke’s case is the same absuridity present in most other SUDC cases; that is, there was no indication of anything wrong. Luke’s dad, Ron Zachara, says he saw no issues that would alarm them on their baby monitor. This has left the Zachara’s and many other parents around the country feeling lost.
Another set of parents, Estuardo and Raquel Torres, told NBC Chicago that their son Julian’s death was eerily similar to Luke’s.
Medical examiners are forced to put SUDC on death certificates, which offers grieving families little in the way of closure. Many families blame themselves due to having nothing in the way of medical answers.
Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Signs and Symptoms
Almost every child that passes from Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood does so while sleeping. Most were full-term babies and grew normal by today’s medical standards. The children were also considered to be healthy prior to their passing. There are some reports of children with fevers and colds at their bedtime, but nothing significant.
One theory is that the children, or some of them, suffer febrile seizures. These type of seizures are considered strongly genetic in nature. Some children who have passed from SUDC showed a family history of febrile seizures. This is more specifically referred to as sudden unexpected death In epilepsy (SUDEP). While the postmortem examination does not reveal a cause of death, some children that have passed were witnessed to have a terminal convulsion.
At least 60% of SUDC cases are toddlers. The illness does not discriminate between ethnicities.
SUDP and SUDEP are diagnosed at the time of death. There is no cure and little in the way of scientific research.
SUDC Registry and Research Collaborative (SUDCRRC) is an investigational therapy that helps learn more about SUDC hallmarks. It’s a collaborative research program.
Children’s health is becoming a hot button issue as other illnesses seem to be on the rise. In New Jersey, autism rates are skyrocketing. Childhood obesity is at near crisis levels. In some communities, 5G wireless towers are being blamed for increases in childhood cancer.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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