Sepsis is the name given to the body’s reaction to bacterial infection in the bloodstream. Bacterial
infection can originate from many parts of the body, for example, the skin, the urinary tract, etc.
When bacteria enters the bloodstream, the immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking the organs and tissues of the body. Also bacteria and the toxins they create changes the body’s temperature and blood pressure and prevent the organs from working properly.
Sepsis can affect people of any age, but is more common in infants under 28 days old, whose immune system hasn’t developed enough to fight of widespread infections. This is what is called neonatal sepsis .
In cases of early onset sepsis, bacteria can enter the baby’s body from the mother during pregnancy, labor or delivery. And complications such as :-
- Premature rupture of amniotic sac, i.e. before 37 weeks of gestation.
- An infection in the uterus or placenta.
- Maternal fever during labor.
- Preterm delivery.
Bacterial infection can be acquired by the newborn during delivery. Group B Strep (GBS) is a kind of bacterium that people harbor in their intestinal tracts, but it can also colonize the vagina as well and infect a newborn infant during labor.
Some symptoms of neonatal sepsis include :-
- Disinterest in feeding.
- Difficulty feeding.
- Fever greater than 100.4 F (38 C), in some cases low unstable temperature.
- Change in skin color.
- Decreased amount of urine.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Poor cry or high pitched cry.
Another source of possible infection comes from hospital equipment that a preterm infant might need to use.
Symptoms of neonatal sepsis can be vague, some prevention actions can be taken in pregnant women, a simple swab test can be done (between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy), to determine if
they carry GBS bacteria.
Newborns can also acquire a bacterial infection in the care area at home between 8 to 28 days old. So be sure to sanitize your home thoroughly.
This would only prevent some types of sepsis so if your newborn display any symptoms of neonatal
sepsis call your doctor right away.