Article Text

  1. A M Eisses1,
  2. P J J Sauer1,
  3. C Gruber2,
  4. G Chirico3,
  5. E Moro4,
  6. P Roggero5,
  7. J Riedler6,
  8. C P Braegger7,
  9. G Boehm8
  1. 1Beatrix Children’s Hospital, UMCG, Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Pediatric Pneumology and Immunology, Charite Universitatsmedizin, Berlin, Germany
  3. 3Department of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care, Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy
  4. 4Centre for Infant Nutrition, Hospital Macedonio Melloni, Milan, Italy
  5. 5Institute of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Fondazione IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalle E Regina Elena, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
  6. 6Kinder Und Jugendspital, Schwarzach, Austria
  7. 7Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University Children’s Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland
  8. 8Danone Research, Centre for Specialised Nutrition, Friedrichsdorf, Germany


Several studies suggest a lower incidence of infections in breast-fed compared to formula-fed infants. Most of these studies have been carried out in developing countries.

Our multicentre study in 5 European countries on the incidence of febrile episodes in the first year of life compared infant formulas with and without prebiotics. This analysis compared 416 infants fed the standard formula with 300 non-randomised breast-fed infants (243 exclusively breast-fed for ⩾4 months). Infants were examined five times. The number of febrile episodes (rectal temperature ⩾38.5°C recorded by the parents) was compared between the groups using a two-sided Van-Elteren test (see table).

Conclusions In contrast to expectations, we could not show a protective effect of breastmilk on the incidence of febrile episodes in the first year of life.

The incidence of febrile episodes in the first year of life is low in Western Europe.

Eisses et al. Adjusted mean number of febrile episodes per year (SD)

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.