THE term “sepsis neonatorum” refers to bacterial infection of infants during the first month of life. The primary site of invasion is most often the bloodstream, with spread to the meninges in 25 to 30 per cent of cases. Systemic bacterial disease occurs in one to 10 cases per thousand live births, depending on such factors as the rate of prematurity, predisposing maternal conditions, and extent of life-support procedures required postnatally. The continued large case-fatality rates of 20 to more than 75 per cent and the substantial percentage of surviving infants who have neurologic handicaps have motivated investigators to define.
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