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Pattern of Culture-Proven Neonatal Sepsis in a District General Hospital in the United Kingdom

  • Khalid N. Haque (a1), M. Ajaz Khan (a1), Sally Kerry (a1), Jim Stephenson (a1) and Gretta Woods (a1)...

To determine the incidence, clinical characteristics, and risk factors associated with the first culture-proven episode of sepsis among neonates in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).


Level-II NICU in the United Kingdom.


Neonates with their first culture-proven sepsis between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 2000.


Demographic data were obtained from the NICU database and chart review. Sepsis was considered early (EOS; < 72 hours old) or late (LOS; > 72 hours old). Data were also collected on potential risk factors.


Among 14,767 live births, 1,612 (11%) neonates were admitted to the NICU during the study period. Nine hundred eight were screened for sepsis. One hundred twenty-four had at least one positive culture (overall sepsis rate of 8.4 per 1,000 live births [1%] or 77 per 1,000 NICU admissions). Twenty-four neonates had EOS and 100 had LOS. Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) and group B Streptococcus were the most frequent organisms causing EOS, whereas CoNS and Escherichia coli most frequently caused LOS. Birth before 30 weeks' gestation and birth weight less than 1,500 g were risk factors for sepsis. Resuscitation at birth was the leading risk factor for EOS and respiratory support prior to sepsis, presence of a central or peripheral catheter, and total parenteral nutrition were leading risk factors for LOS.


A strong inverse relationship existed between gestational age of 30 weeks or younger and birth weight of 1,500 g or less and LOS. Resuscitation and indwelling intravenous catheters were also risk factors.

Corresponding author
St. Helier University Hospital, Wrythe Lane, Carshalton, Surrey SM5 1AA, England
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
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