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Nearly one in five of world’s newborns with sepsis die, study finds

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: (Published 09 June 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1324
  1. Jacqui Thornton
  1. London

A study in 11 countries over four continents has shown the “catastrophic impact” of antibiotic resistance on babies with sepsis, with nearly one in five dying.

The two year observational study enrolled 3204 babies with clinical sepsis in 19 hospitals in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. It found that 17.7% (564/3195 infants) were blood culture pathogen positive, and mortality rates among infants up to 60 days old with culture positive sepsis was 17.7% (99/564).

The research, published in PLOS Medicine,1 also highlighted wide variation in treatment and frequent switching of antibiotics because of resistance, with 206 antibiotic combinations used by the hospitals studied in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Greece, India, Italy, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, and Uganda.

Many doctors resorted to using broader spectrum and often expensive antibiotics such as carbapenems because of a lack of availability of others or a high degree of resistance. …

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