Neonatal sepsis is a blood infection that occurs during the first 90 days of an infant’s life. It is especially common in preterm, low-birth-weight babies. It can be caused by bacteria or virus, most commonly Group B streptococcus but most dangerous when caused by E. coli.
Symptoms are difficult to identify, but typically include slowed activity, weak sucking, apnea, slow heart rate, variable temperature, breathing difficulty, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distention, jitters, seizures, and yellowed skin and eyes.
Blood, cerebrospinal fluid and urine culture tests are used to determine the cause.
Treatment usually consists of ampicillin and gentamicin, or ampicillin and cefotaxime if meningitis may be involved.