Infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, particularly those born preterm, are at high risk for infection due to the combination of an immature immune system, prolonged hospitalization, and frequent use of invasive devices. Emerging evidence suggests that multidrug-resistant gram-negative (MDR-GN) infections are increasing in neonatal settings, which directly threatens recent and ongoing advances in contemporary neonatal care. A rising prevalence of antibiotic resistance among common neonatal pathogens compounds the challenge of optimal management of suspected and confirmed neonatal infection. We review the epidemiology of MDR-GN infections in neonates in the United States and internationally, with a focus on extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacterales and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE). We include published single-center studies, neonatal collaborative reports, and national surveillance data. Risk factors for and mechanisms of resistance are discussed. In addition, we discuss current recommendations for empiric antibiotic therapy for suspected infections, as well as definitive treatment options for key MDR organisms. Finally, we review best practices for prevention and identify current knowledge gaps and areas for future research. IMPACT: Surveillance and prevention of MDR-GN infections is a pediatric research priority. A rising prevalence of MDR-GN neonatal infections, specifically ESBL-producing Enterobacterales and CRE, compounds the challenge of optimal management of suspected and confirmed neonatal infection. Future studies are needed to understand the impacts of MDR-GN infection on neonatal morbidity and mortality, and studies of current and novel antibiotic therapies should include a focus on the pharmacokinetics of such agents among neonates.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to the International Pediatric Research Foundation, Inc.