Management of Neonates Born at ≥35 0/7 Weeks' Gestation With Suspected or Proven Early-Onset Bacterial Sepsis

Pediatrics. 2018 Dec;142(6):e20182894. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-2894.


The incidence of neonatal early-onset sepsis (EOS) has declined substantially over the last 2 decades, primarily because of the implementation of evidence-based intrapartum antimicrobial therapy. However, EOS remains a serious and potentially fatal illness. Laboratory tests alone are neither sensitive nor specific enough to guide EOS management decisions. Maternal and infant clinical characteristics can help identify newborn infants who are at risk and guide the administration of empirical antibiotic therapy. The incidence of EOS, the prevalence and implications of established risk factors, the predictive value of commonly used laboratory tests, and the uncertainties in the risk/benefit balance of antibiotic exposures all vary significantly with gestational age at birth. Our purpose in this clinical report is to provide a summary of the current epidemiology of neonatal sepsis among infants born at ≥35 0/7 weeks' gestation and a framework for the development of evidence-based approaches to sepsis risk assessment among these infants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Management*
  • Gestational Age
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality / trends
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / epidemiology
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Neonatal Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Neonatal Sepsis / drug therapy*
  • Neonatal Sepsis / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents