Neonatal septicaemia in Finland 1981-85. Predominance of group B streptococcal infections with very early onset

Acta Paediatr Scand. 1989 Jan;78(1):44-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1989.tb10885.x.


A survey of blood culture-confirmed neonatal septicaemia was carried out in seven delivery hospitals in 1981-85, for a second successive five-year period. The total number of cases was 377, to compare with 410 in the previous five-year period. Group B streptococcus (GBS) was throughout the major pathogen (29%), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (15%) and Escherichia coli (14%), while Staphylococcus epidermidis (10%) has emerged as a significant new causative agent. Septicaemia with very early onset was predominant: 49% of the cases had onset within the first 24 hours; in the majority the symptoms were present from birth. GBS was responsible for 49% of the cases detected in the first 24 hours of life. The overall mortality was 20% as compared to 23% in the previous five-year period, whereas in the very early onset septicaemia mortality was now 18%, down from the preceding 30%. Despite the modest progress, GBS septicaemia with very early onset remains a significant problem, and effective preventive measures are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prognosis
  • Sepsis / epidemiology*
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification