What is early-onset neonatal sepsis categorized?

Updated: Jun 13, 2019
  • Author: Nathan S Gollehon, MD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Early-onset sepsis is associated with acquisition of microorganisms from the mother. Infection can occur via hematogenous, transplacental spread from an infected mother or, more commonly, via ascending infection from the cervix. Organisms that colonize the mother’s genitourinary (GU) tract may be acquired by the neonate as it passes through the colonized birth canal at delivery. The microorganisms most commonly associated with early-onset infection include the following [1] :

Trends in the epidemiology of early-onset sepsis show a decreasing incidence of GBS disease following the widespread adoption of prenatal screening and treatment protocols. [2, 3, 4]

In a study involving 4696 women, prenatal cultures showed a GBS colonization rate of 24.5%, with a positive culture rate of 18.8% at the time of labor. [5] As many as 10% of prenatally culture-negative women were found to have positive cultures at the time of labor. In the study, intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis occurred appropriately in 93.3% of cases, with 0.36 of 1000 infants developing early-onset GBS disease. [5]

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