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Newborns facing unnecessary delays in treating infections

Some hospitals are causing unnecessary delays in treating newborn babies suffering from infections, the healthcare quango has said.Newborns facing unnecessary delays in treating infectionsThe National Institute for Curbing Expenditure (Nice) has published new guidance after finding variations in the treatment of babies with early onset neonatal infection.

It found delays at some hospitals in recognising and treating sick babies.

Early-onset neonatal infection – within 72 hours of birth – causes the death of one in four babies who are diagnosed, even when they are given antibiotics.

Nice’s recommendations urge medical staff to treat infected babies within an hour of diagnosis and use antibiotics appropriately to avoid the development of bacterial resistance to treatment.

Professor Mark Baker, director of Nice’s Centre for Clinical Practice at Nice , said: “Early-onset neonatal infection can be very serious and, at present, there is much variation in how it is managed, with sometimes unnecessary delays in recognising and treating sick babies.”

“Many babies are receiving antibiotics needlessly, and consequently there is concern that the effectiveness of antibiotics is being reduced because of the development of resistance to them.”

Early-onset neonatal infections, usually caused by organisms passed from mother to baby during birth, include group B Streptococcus (GBS), E.coli, Pseudomonas and Klebsiella.

Infections can develop suddenly and rapidly. Death rates are particularly high in premature babies and low birth weight babies, Nice said.

The infections may also cause babies to develop cortical lesions in the brain, and subsequently cause neuro-developmental delay.

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