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Early and Late Onset Sepsis

What is Early and Late Onset Sepsis?

Neonatal sepsis is an invasive bacterial blood infection that occurs during the first 28 days of birth of an infant. It can be classified into two main categories depending upon the onset of symptoms, namely:

Early Onset Sepsis (EOS)– EOS occurs within the first 72 hours of life. It usually results from the organisms present in the maternal genital tract or in the delivery area.

Late Onset Sepsis (LOS) – LOS usually occurs after 72 hours of birth and is caused by organisms present in the external environment of hospital or home. The hands of the care-providers lay a major role in transmitting the infection. 

What risk factors are associated with EOS?

There are certain risk factors that increase the chances of EOS, namely:

  • Low birth weight or prematurity
  • Prolonged rupture of membranes
  • Foul smelling liquor
  • Multiple per vaginum examinations
  • Maternal fever
  • Difficult/prolonged labor
  • Meconium aspiration 
  • What risk factors are associated with LOS?

    Factors that might increase the risk of LOS are:

  • Low birth weight
  • Lack of breastfeeding
  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor cord care
  • Bottle feeding
  • Prelacteal feeds 
  • What are the symptoms of EOS and LOS?

    The most common symptoms of EOS and LOS are:

  • Change in body temperature
  • Breathing problems
  • Diarrhea or decreased bowel movements
  • Reduced sucking
  • Reduced movements
  • Low blood sugar
  • Swollen belly area
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Seizures 
  • What treatment is given for EOS and LOS?

    Early treatment is very important if an infant is showing signs of neonatal sepsis. The doctor will immediately give antibiotics and later on adjust the medications according to the sensitivities & site of infection. Supportive care is equally important in this treatment.