Risk assessment in neonatal early onset sepsis

Semin Perinatol. 2012 Dec;36(6):408-15. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2012.06.002.


The incidence of neonatal early onset sepsis has declined with the widespread use of intrapartum antibiotic therapies, yet early onset sepsis remains a potentially fatal condition, particularly among very low birth-weight infants. Clinical signs of neonatal infection are nonspecific and may be absent in the immediate postnatal period. Maternal and infant clinical characteristics, as well as infant laboratory values, have been used to identify newborns at risk and to administer empiric antibiotic therapy to prevent progression to more severe illness. Such approaches result in the evaluation of approximately 15% of asymptomatic term and late preterm infants and of nearly all preterm infants. The development of multivariate predictive models may provide more accurate methods of identifying newborns at highest risk and allow for more limited newborn antibiotic exposures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / microbiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Models, Statistical
  • Perinatal Care / methods
  • Perinatal Care / organization & administration
  • Policy Making
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Assessment* / methods
  • Risk Assessment* / organization & administration
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis* / diagnosis
  • Sepsis* / epidemiology
  • Sepsis* / microbiology
  • Sepsis* / physiopathology
  • Sepsis* / prevention & control
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / drug effects
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents