BACKGROUND: Guidelines for prevention of group B streptococcal (GBS) infection have successfully reduced early onset (EO) GBS disease. Study results suggest that Escherichia coli is an important EO pathogen. OBJECTIVE: To determine EO infection rates, pathogens, morbidity, and mortality in a national network of neonatal centers. METHODS: Infants with EO infection were identified by prospective surveillance at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Network centers. Infection was de-fined by positive culture results for blood and cerebrospinal fluid obtained from infants aged ≤72 hours plus treatment with antibiotic therapy for ≥5 days. Mother and infant characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were studied. Numbers of cases and total live births (LBs) were used to calculate incidence. RESULTS: Among 396 586 LBs (2006 -2009), 389 infants developed EO infection (0.98 cases per 1000 LBs). Infection rates increased with decreasing birth weight. GBS (43%, 0.41 per 1000 LBs) and E coli (29%, 0.28 per 1000 LBs) were most frequently isolated. Most infants with GBS were term (73%); 81% with E coli were preterm. Mothers of 67% of infected term and 58% of infected preterm infants were screened for GBS, and results were positive for 25% of those mothers. Only 76% of mothers with GBS colonization received intrapartum chemoprophylaxis. Although 77% of infected infants required intensive care, 20% of term infants were treated in the normal newborn nursery. Sixteen percent of infected infants died, most commonly with E coli infection (33%). CONCLUSION: In the era of intrapartum chemoprophylaxis to reduce GBS, rates of EO infection have declined but reflect a continued burden of disease. GBS remains the most frequent pathogen in term infants, and E coli the most significant pathogen in preterm infants. Missed opportunities for GBS prevention continue. Prevention of E coli sepsis, especially among preterm infants, remains a challenge.
- Escherichia coli infection
- Group B streptococcal disease
- Neonatal sepsis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health