NICE Publishes Draft Update to Guidance on Neonatal Infection

Priscilla Lynch 

December 11, 2020

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft updated guidance on the use of antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of infection in babies before and after delivery.

The new draft guideline replaces the recommendations from NICE’s existing guidance on early-onset neonatal infection, published in 2012, and covers preventing infection within 72 hours of birth in healthy babies, treating pregnant women whose baby is at risk and caring for babies who have a suspected or confirmed infection. It aims to reduce delays in recognising and treating sick babies and prevent unnecessary use of antibiotics.

In addition to new recommendations, the scope of the draft guideline has been extended to offer guidance on both early-onset and late-onset infections. The update shares practical advice on a range of areas from preventing early-onset neonatal infection in high-risk pregnancies to advising which antibiotics should be used to treat late-onset neonatal infection.

New recommendations include indicators to look out for when identifying possible late-onset infection in babies, occurring more than 72 hours after birth, such as abnormal temperature and the inability to be roused or stay awake.

In addition, the draft guidance has been updated to include advice on when to use antifungal treatment to prevent invasive fungal infection in babies who are being treated with antibiotics.

In all situations, health care professionals should ensure that parents are provided with clear information on the risk of neonatal infection before and after delivery, NICE said. Discussions around possible treatment interventions should take into account the concerns of parents or carers and allow them to be involved in the planning and execution of any follow-up care.

The draft guidance is out for public consultation until 5 January 2021, with an expected publication date of 12 April 2021 for the final version.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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