The study was performed by principal investigator Barbara J. Stoll, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, and her colleagues at the centers comprising the Neonatal Research Network of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Systemic infection is an important cause of illness and death among very low-birth-weight infants (less than 1500 g), particularly within the first 72 hours after birth.
The researchers studied the pathogens involved in early-onset sepsis in a group of 5,447 very-low-birth-weight infants (401 to 1500 g) born between 1998 and 2000 and compared them to the pathogens involved in early-onset sepsis in a group of 7,606 very-low-birth-weight infants born between 1991 and 1993.
The researchers found that the overall incidence of sepsis in the two groups of infants did not differ significantly, but there was a significant change in the bacteria involved in the infections. In the more recent group of infants, there was a significant reduction in group B streptococcal sepsis compared to the earlier group (from 5.9 to 1.7 per 1000 live births under 1500 g), but an increase in E. coli sepsis (from 3.2 to 6.8 per 1000 live births under 1500 g). Eighty-five percent of the E.coli cases were resistant to ampicillin
Contact: Holly Korschun
Emory University Health Sciences Center