In this issue, Kaufman and colleagues describe their efforts to reduce the risk of infection among critically ill neonates.1 Late-onset infections are devastating for infants. Whether they are classified as health care–associated infections, such as central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), or identified as a somewhat less distinct clinical syndrome, such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), these infections cause undeniable suffering. Among extremely low-birth-weight infants, an infection raises the risk of death by approximately 50%.2 Late-onset infections also cause substantial morbidity for surviving infants, including prolonged hospital stays and increased health care expenses.3 Of even greater concern is our emerging understanding of the life-long consequences of these infections on surviving infants. Premature infants who experience late-onset infections have a substantially increased risk of cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, and blindness.4
Coffin SE. Fighting Infections in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Gloves On or Off? JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(10):885–887. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1269
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