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Infection. 1984;12 Suppl 1:S44-51.

Recent advances in management of bacterial meningitis in neonates.


The current incidence of neonatal sepsis in the United States varies from less than 1 to 8.1 per 1000 live births. The incidence of bacterial meningitis is about one-third of the number of infants with sepsis. The mortality is 20 to 30% and many survivors are severely impaired. Group B streptococcus and Escherichia coli are the most frequent causes of meningitis. Because of the difficulty of clinical diagnosis, many infants receive presumptive therapy for suspected sepsis or meningitis although few have documented infection. Between 5 and 10% of newborn infants born in the United States receive antimicrobial agents in the nursery, usually a penicillin and an aminoglycoside. To lower the continued high mortality and morbidity of meningitis due to gram-negative enteric bacilli, collaborative randomized trials evaluated the efficacy of gentamicin administered via the intrathecal route, gentamicin administered into the ventricle and most recently, the efficacy of moxalactam. Neither intrathecal or intraventricular drug, both in combination with parenteral drug, was advantageous when compared with parenterally administered drug alone. The mortality rate and number of days of culture positive cerebrospinal fluid were similar in infants who received moxalactam and ampicillin and infants who received amikacin and ampicillin. Adjunctive therapies including granulocyte transfusion, administration of hyperimmune gamma globulin and exchange transfusion are now under investigation. Initial studies of prevention of systemic bacterial infection by prophylactic ampicillin administered to the mother at delivery and use of group B streptococcal vaccine administered to susceptible women in the child bearing age show promise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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