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What should be done after losing a newborn to sepsis?

Q: Last year we lost a female baby at the age of 13 days due to sepsis (blood infection). Are there any tests required for me and my wife for our next issue?

A:Neonatal sepsis may be caused by bacterial, fungal, parasitic or viral organisms though bacteria are the commonest. This condition is classified as early (presenting within 24 hours) or late onset (presenting between 48 hours and 6 days of birth). Early-onset sepsis is caused by acquiring the infection from the mother during child birth while the late-onset state is acquired from the environment. Premature and ill infants have an increased susceptibility. Pneumonia is more common in early-onset sepsis, whereas meningitis and/or bacteremia are more common in late-onset sepsis. The mortality rate in this condition can be as high as 50% if not treated. Some maternal risk factors associated with it include maternal colonization with the bacteria, premature or preterm or prolonged rupture of membranes, prematurity, and chorioamnionitis. Babies who are predisposed are those who come from a low socio-economic status, whose mothers have -high fever, urinary tract infection, poor nutrition, recurrent abortion and babies who have a low birth weight, difficult delivery, birth asphyxia and congenital anomalies. It can be prevented by early treatment of maternal infection by screening of the mother for Group B Streptococci. Your wife will be examined and appropriate cultures taken to exclude an infection. There is no need to worry but do go for delivery at an institution equipped with a good nursery/intensive care facilities. All the best.

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