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J Clin Virol. 1999 May;12(3):211-9.

A population-based prospective survey of newborn infants with suspected systemic infection: occurrence of sporadic enterovirus and adenovirus infections.

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Department of Neonatology, Helsinki City Maternity Hospital, Finland.



Enterovirus outbreaks are known to occur in neonatal wards and enteroviruses may cause community-acquired sepsis-like disease in the neonatal period. Less well is known their possible role in suspected systemic infections during the perinatal period.


To investigate the occurrence of enterovirus infections in neonatal patients suspected of systemic infection.


A population-based prospective survey was organized in the hospitals of the Greater Helsinki Region during 13 months in 1993-94. Criteria for enrollment included onset of symptoms before the age of 29 days and a decision, on clinical grounds, to take a blood culture for bacteria. Acute phase samples of blood, feces, nasopharyngeal swab, and cerebrospinal fluid, if available, were inoculated in monolayer cultures of four different cell lines. In addition, enterovirus infections were searched for using an enterovirus group-reacting IgM test.


One hundred and thirty-seven patients had a sufficient number of specimens examined, and were thus evaluable. Most of the infants had the onset of the symptoms within a few days after birth. An enterovirus was isolated from four newborn infants (3%), while seven children (5%) were found to excrete adenovirus. Enteroviral antigen was detected in cell cultures inoculated with specimens from two additional infants. Virus-positive infants had no evidence of bacterial infection and did not show specific clinical signs or symptoms differentiating them from the rest of the study group. All enrolled infants recovered without sequelae.


We conclude that sporadic viral infections may be common in neonatal patients with suspected systemic infection, and this should be taken into account when judging the etiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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