Group B beta-haemolytic streptococcus, or GBS, is the most common cause of neonatal bacterial infection. Newborn infections are classified as early and late infections according to the age of the baby.
Early infections are known if the baby is ill before 7 days of age and late infections if they are more than 7 days old. 90% of early infections occur within the first 24 hours of life. In early infection, the infection usually occurs as an ascending infection through amniotic fluid or during childbirth from the mother’s birth canal. Most of the newborn infants’ early GBS infections can be prevented by giving antimicrobial prophylaxis to GBS-positive mothers at least 4 hours before the baby is born.
Risk factors for infection before or during childbirth include maternal GBS colonization, previous child GBS infection, maternal fever, uterine infection, amniotic fluid more than 18 hours prior to birth, and delayed antibiotic treatment by the mother in these situations. The earlier and the smaller the child, the greater the risk of infant infection. If the child is at risk of infection, CRP and low blood counts should be examined at the age of 24-36 hours. If there are any abnormalities, the answers will be communicated to the pediatrician who will decide on further samples and procedures. Newborns at risk of infection in the hospital are monitored for heart rate, respiratory rate and heat for at least 1.5 days.
The symptoms of a newborn’s infection vary greatly. Common signs of infection include cramping or rapid breathing, tenderness, crying, poor eating, reduced general condition, heat fluctuations, yellowing and pallor. When a suspected infection occurs, the newborn baby needs a pediatrician’s evaluation and laboratory tests. A clearly symptomatic child is cultured and given antibiotic treatment. The duration of treatment depends on the disease picture and the blood culture response.
The most common cause of neonatal sepsis is GBS. Usually, the child becomes ill during the first few days, but some do not get home until after they have been home. If the baby’s condition differs from the previous one, you should easily contact either the maternity hospital or the pediatrician.