Nigerian Journal of Paediatrics

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Prevalence of neonatal septicaemia in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

BA West, PN Tabansi


Background : Septicaemia is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the neonatal period. Early detection of neonatal septicaemia is often hampered by its subtle and nonspecific symptoms and signs thus a high index of suspicion is needed.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of neonatal sept ic a emia , ident i fy the predisposing factors, clinical features and causative organisms in
the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
Methods: Four hundred and six neonates with clinical suspicion of sepsis were recruited into the study over a six months period. Blood culture was used as gold standard for the diagnosis of neonatal septicaemia.
Results: One hundred and sixtynine (41.6%) neonates had positive blood culture giving a prevalence rate of neonatal septicaemia as 33.1%. The
predominant predisposing factors were out-born delivery (68.0%), birth asphyxia (30.2%) and prematurity (21.4%) while the major clinical features of septicaemia were respiratory distress (30.2%), fever (26.6%)
and poor suck (22.5%). Klebsiella pneumoniae ( 6 5 . 4 % ), Staphylococcus aureus (15.4%) and Escherichia coli (7.7%) were the commonest organisms isolated in neonates with septicaemia.
Conclusion: Prevalence of blood culture-proven septicemia is high, being 33.1%. Klebsiella pneumoniae is the predominant cause of neonatal septicaemia in Port Harcourt.

Key Words: Neonatal septicaemia; Prevalence; Port Harcourt.
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