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Infections in new-born babies after birth

Infections in new-born babies after birth

by: Dr. Sorabh Goel
Consultant - Neonatology-Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Infections in a new-born baby is also known as neonatal sepsis. Infections in the newborn usually occur within 28 days after birth. In view of serious consequences of sepsis, caregivers should be aware of early signs and symptoms of infection in newborns, so that if they can be treated early and. Neonatal sepsis is broadly classified into two types as the causes are different in both the groups.  Early onset can be defined as an infection that begins within 7 days of birth while late-onset sepsis manifests after 7 days of birth. This differentiation is important for treatment also as the type of microorganisms responsible for infection is different in both conditions.

Early onset sepsis (EOS) – This is acquired by transmission from the mother during pregnancy or is acquired from mother’s vaginal tract during delivery. Baby develops symptoms usually soon after birth.

Risk factors for EOS

  • Maternal fever, UTI,
  • Early rupture of Membranes (>18 hrs prior to delivery)
  • Repeated internal examination required during delivery
  • Delivery < 37 weeks
  1. Late-onset sepsis is usually acquired from the environment or other infected patients.

Clinical Features of Sepsis

Sign and symptoms of infection in newborns are nonspecific. It includes lethargy, refusal to feed, vomiting, hypothermia (cold extremities) or fever, fast and labored breathing, abdominal fullness, decreased urine output, jaundice and in severe cases can present with bluish discoloration, seizures, and shock (low blood pressure).

Management of infection in newborns

Treatment of infection in newborns needs hospital admission and detailed evaluation and administration of antibiotics. A battery of test and a detailed evaluation is required at the even slight suspicion of infection so as to minimize the treatment of patients who are not infected and to limit the spread and adequate treatment of infection in infected patients. Various markers of infection on a blood test are raised TLC, positive CRP, increased immature cells in PBF examination but positive blood culture is the only confirmatory test for neonatal sepsis. Early diagnosis and early initiation of treatment prevent morbidity and mortality due to neonatal sepsis.

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