Which neonates have the greatest risk for neonatal sepsis?

Updated: Jun 13, 2019
  • Author: Nathan S Gollehon, MD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Premature infants have an increased incidence of sepsis, with a significantly higher occurrence in infants with a birth weight lower than 1500 g (11-22.7 per 1000 live births) than in infants born at 37 weeks or later (0.3-0.98 per 1000 live births). The risk of death or meningitis from sepsis is higher in infants with low birth weight than in full-term neonates.

Black infants have an increased incidence of GBS disease and late-onset sepsis. This is observed even after other risk factors such as low birth weight and younger maternal age have been controlled for. This finding may be in part due to higher carriage rates of GBS among black women, but this factor does not explain all of the variation. [19]

In all races, the incidence of bacterial sepsis and meningitis, especially with gram-negative enteric bacilli, is higher in males than in females.

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