Neonatal infections of are often difficult to diagnose. The most frequent major infection acquired by the infant in utero is pneumonia,1-5 which may be unsuspected until postmortem examination.6 The response to infection in the newborn infant, particularly when prematurely born, may be minimal, unpredictable, or nonspecific. For this reason, antibacterial treatment of newborn infants has been extensive and relatively indiscriminate in the past. Subsequently, antibiotic-resistant bacteria have developed, and harmful effects in newborn infants resulting from drugs such as sulfonamides and chloramphenicol have been recognized. Physicians now tend to limit medications to specific indications, and not treat newborn infants prophylactically. Under these circumstances, it is particularly important to diagnose neonatal infections early and to select high-risk infants for special observation.
Although the fetus becomes infected in a relatively small proportion of all instances of maternal amnionitis, it is generally accepted that an important pathway for fetal infection is
WILSON MG, ARMSTRONG DH, NELSON RC, BOAK RA. Prolonged Rupture of Fetal Membranes: Effect on the Newborn Infant. Am J Dis Child. 1964;107(2):138–146. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02080060140005
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