Sepsis In Infants Symptoms And Treatment: Neonatal Sepsis Causes

Sepsis is a serious disorder caused due to bacterial infection in the body. In fact it is a complication of bacterial infection. It is a systemic response to an infection. Sepsis occurs when the toxins are released by the bacteria into the blood stream. They cause inflammatory changes throughout the body. It can lead to many problems such as alteration in mental status, hypo-tension, and decreased urine output etc, including organ failure.

At least 25 percent patients in intensive care unit are susceptible to develop sepsis. The mortality rate is more than 50% if the patient is in septic shock.

Septic shock is sepsis with low blood pressure despite adequate fluid resuscitation.

Sepsis can occur in any person suffering from bacterial infection. Gram negative bacteria are relatively causative agents. Patients with weakened immunity, infants and elderly persons are at greater risk. Detection and early treatment with antibiotics and adequate intravenous fluid may increase the survival possibility of the patient. Due to invention of new generation antibiotics the chances of survival have improved.

Signs And Symptoms Of Sepsis In Babies

Symptoms of sepsis in infants may occur as early as 24 hours after delivery, or about 90 days after delivery.

The signs and symptoms that become apparent are:

  • Fluctuating body temperature. Usually there is rise in temperature in the beginning stage with suddenly the disorder becoming worse; the body temperature may fall drastically.
  • The child is lethargic. Cannot suck breast milk.
  • Apnea and respiratory distress
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Heart rate is rapid sometimes there is pounding heartbeat.
  • The abdomen gets bloated and swollen.
  • There may be rash and eruption over buttocks and trunk, especially in newborn infants. Occasionally these eruptions may proceed to form pus filled vesicles.

Causes Of Neonatal Sepsis

Neonatal sepsis commonly occurs in premature babies. Congenital sepsis develops when the baby is infected during pregnancy. Infection occurs via the birth canal and the placenta. The baby may also get infected during the delivery or immediately after. Group B streptococcus and Escherichia coli are the primary bacteria that cause sepsis in babies.

A number of risk factors can cause sepsis in infants.

  • Recurrent and repeated vaginal check-ups.
  • Infected placenta
  • Premature baby
  • Infection during pregnancy
  • Infected hospital / home surroundings.
  • A prolonged stay at the hospital.

Treatment For Sepsis In Infants

  • Neonatal sepsis must be managed immediately, without any delay; for the baby’s immune mechanism is not developed adequately, thus, making the infection life threatening.
  • The baby has to be kept under constant supervision. Usually he is kept in NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit). The primary vital signs are monitored throughout the day.
  • Laboratory tests must be performed at once. Once the diagnosis is made, drugs such as, ampicillin / gentamicin must be started.
  • Granulocyte transfusion and IV immune globulin replacement are given.
  • Premature babies are exceedingly vulnerable to sepsis, thus, utmost care must be taken during pregnancy and delivery.