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New approaches to neonatal sepsis needed and screening adolescents for alcohol problems

In this week's PLoS Medicine, Karen Edmond and Anita Zaidi emphasise the importance of finding new approaches to preventing, diagnosing, and treating neonatal sepsis, especially in the developing world where fatality rates are the highest. Whereas in high income countries the major concern is with premature babies at risk of infection from multi-resistant organisms in intensive care units, the most pressing issues in low income countries are the high proportion of home deliveries in unclean environments predisposing to sepsis, and ensuring that all neonates have access to effective interventions from health care providers in the first days of life.

Neonatal sepsis is caused by invasion of the bloodstream by bacteria in the first month of life. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 million deaths per year (10% of all under-five mortality) are due to neonatal sepsis and that 42% of these deaths occur in the first week of life. There are wide disparities in the care of neonatal sepsis across countries, say the authors.

More information:
Edmond K, Zaidi A (2010) New Approaches to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Neonatal Sepsis. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000213. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000213

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