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Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Dec;44(6):558-61.

Escherichia coli: a growing problem in early onset neonatal sepsis.

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National Women's Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.



To review the demographic characteristics, antecedents and outcome for early neonatal Escherichia coli sepsis. Secondary aims were to identify antenatal antibiotic use and to review the antimicrobial susceptibility.


A retrospective chart review was performed for all infants with a positive culture for E. coli from either blood or CSF samples obtained between January 1998 and October 2002.


Nineteen liveborn infants with early onset sepsis and one stillborn baby with a positive maternal blood culture for E. coli were identified. Pregnancy complications included multiple pregnancy in five (25%), preterm rupture of membranes 10 (50%) and maternal urinary tract infection in five (25%). Eighteen of the cases were born preterm and two at term. The mortality was 8/20 (40%), and for nine cases with developmental outcome data available, 67% were within normal limits and 33% were abnormal. Of the 20 E. coli isolates 11 (55%) were resistant to amoxycillin and 1 (5%) was resistant to gentamicin.


Infants with early onset E. coli sepsis had a poor outcome with high mortality and a third of the survivors manifesting neurodevelopmental impairment. Although amoxycillin resistance is common, there is a low prevalence of gentamicin resistance in local isolates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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