Infections in Newborns



Fighting infectious diseases today is much easier than in the past. Proper hygiene and proper precautions, along with numerous vaccines, antibiotics and rapidly advancing medical technology, help prevent many infections. However, some infections may be transmitted to a baby before birth. A fetus and a newborn baby have limited ability to prevent and fight infectious diseases. Special care may be needed for babies who develop an infection before, during, or after birth.

Some of the diseases which can affect babies after exposure before or during birth include: 

  • Viral infections: Cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, chickenpox (varicella virus), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Rubella virus, hepatitis viruses, parvovirus
  • Bacterial infections: Group B Streptococcus, syphilis, Listeria, Pertussis
  • Parasite infections such as toxoplasmosis

Prevention Tips

Prevention is the key to fighting many infectious diseases. At any time of life, but especially during pregnancy and after the birth of a baby, part of preventing the spread of an infectious disease includes hand washing and taking medication properly, as well as the tactics below.

Receive Prenatal Care from a Qualified Healthcare Provider

Your physician can help to determine the risks that your baby may acquire a serious illness prior to or during birth. Advances in medical knowledge have led to many interventions which can minimize the chances that these infections will be passed onto your baby.

Your physician can help to determine the risks that your baby may acquire a serious illness prior to or during birth. Advances in medical knowledge have led to many interventions which can minimize the chances that these infections will be passed onto your baby.

Immunizations

Follow the nationally recommended immunization schedule for children and adults. Vaccination has been arguably the single most influential medical intervention helping protect young babies from severe disease.

Even with proper prevention, sometimes a disease is unavoidable. Some reasons may be attributed to the following:

  • Evolution of drug-resistant strains of a disease
  • Changes in a person's environment
  • Increased travel
  • Inappropriate use of prescription drugs
  • Lack of attention to proper personal hygiene

Infections in babies require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Early diagnosis is often critical to successful treatment. An infectious diseases specialist may be helpful in directing proper diagnosis and treatment of these infections.

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