Young infant sepsis: aetiology, antibiotic susceptibility and clinical signs

Newton O, English M
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2007;101

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Globally, young infant mortality comprises 40% of the estimated 10.8 million child deaths annually. Almost all (99%) of these deaths arise in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Achievement of the Millennium Development Goal for child survival, however, requires a significant improvement in the management of infections in young infants. We have reviewed current evidence from LMICs on one major cause of young infant mortality, severe infection, and have described the range of pathogens, reported antibiotic susceptibility and value of clinical signs in identifying severe bacterial illness. Evidence from the reviewed studies appears to show that common pathogens in young infant infections change over time and vary within and across settings. However, there are few good, large studies outside major urban settings and many reports describe infections of babies born in hospital when most young infant infections probably occur in the majority born at home. Yet what knowledge there is can aid in instituting prompt and appropriate therapy, and perhaps thus minimize the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteraemia, a major threat at least in hospital settings. Improved country level data on pattern of microorganisms, resistance and antibiotic use are required to help reduce mortality through development of local, evidence-based clinical guidelines.