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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Jul;201(1):38.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2009.03.006. Epub 2009 Apr 19.

Epidemiology and risk factors for early onset sepsis among very-low-birthweight infants.

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  • 1Department of Neonatal Intensive Care, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, Petah Tiqva, Israel.



The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence, causative pathogens, and risk factors for early onset sepsis (EOS) among very-low-birthweight (VLBW) infants.


This was a population based observational study. Data were prospectively collected by the Israel Neonatal Network between 1995 and 2005. Multivariable analyses identified independent risk factors for EOS.


EOS developed in 383 of 15,839 infants (2.42%). Fifty-five percent of pathogens isolated were gram-negative bacteria. Lack of prenatal care (odds ratio [OR], 1.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32-2.86), delivery room resuscitation (OR, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.91-3.24), membrane rupture > 24 hours without amnionitis (OR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.53-2.88), amnionitis with membrane rupture < 24 hours (OR, 4.28; 95% CI, 2.97-6.16), and amnionitis with membrane rupture >or= 24 hours (OR, 8.15; 95% CI, 5.98-11.10) were associated with EOS, but not antenatal steroids or gestational age.


EOS was caused mainly by gram-negative bacteria. Prolonged rupture of membranes and amnionitis have an additive effect on EOS with an above 8-fold excess risk when both were present.

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