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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2013 February;65(1):103-10


language: Italian

Neonatal sepsis: new preventive strategies

Stronati M. 1, Bollani L. 1, Maragliano R. 1, Ruffinazzi G. 1, Manzoni P. 2, Borghesi A. 1

1 Dipartimento di Neonatologia, Patologia Neonatale e Terapia Intensiva, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italia; 2 Dipartimento di Neonatologia e Terapia Intensiva Neonatale, Ospedale S. Anna, Torino, Italia


More than one million neonatal deaths every year in the world are attributable to infection. In nurseries, infections occur with a reported incidence of 0.3-3%; in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) the reported incidence is 7-24.5%, and up to 40% in newborns with birth weight less than 1000 g or gestational age at birth <28 weeks. Sepsis is the most severe and frequent infection, accounting for 45-55% of all infections. Several practices have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing the incidence of infection in NICUs, including hand hygiene practices, correct management of central venous catheters (CVC), accurate diagnostic strategies and correct use of antimicrobial drugs. Despite the reduction in the incidence of infection after implementation of these practices, nosocomial infections are still a relevant problem, with high mortality and morbidity rates in hospitalized newborns, especially preterm newborns. Searching for new strategies to further reduce the incidence of nosocomial sepsis in NICUs is a priority of clinical research. New and promising strategies for the prevention of nosocomial infection in NICU include: lactoferrin administration, early identification of infants at risk of infection by means of specific markers (e.g. mannose binding lectin), heparin use for the prevention of CVC-related infections, judicious use of antibiotics, and prevention of fungal sepsis with antifungal agents. On the contrary, recent studies demonstrated that the use of specific immunoglobulins directed against different staphylococcal antigens is not effective in preventing neonatal sepsis.

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