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article imagePreterm babies and risks from gut bacteria

By Tim Sandle     Mar 24, 2014 in Health
Babies born prematurely often withstand complications of early birth only to suffer late-onset sepsis at 72 hours of age. Researchers have discovered that preterm babies' guts harbor infectious microbes that can cause late-onset sepsis.
There is a tremendous emphasis in intensive-care units throughout the world on stopping infections related to the insertion of catheters or other tubes. However, this leaves a sizable number of babies who get bloodstream infections from bacteria that do not necessarily reside on the skin.
In relation to this, scientists have found three types of potentially harmful gut microbes in the bloodstreams of most babies in the study who developed late-onset sepsis: E. coli, group B strep and S. marcescens. Sepsis occurs when the immune system has an overwhelming response to a bacterial infection. In severe cases, sepsis causes shock, organ failure and death.
The link to a baby’s gut is because the bacteria that invade the blood probably flourishes in the baby’s gastrointestinal tracts for at least a few days before it causes sepsis.
The findings suggest new strategies to detect and prevent severe bloodstream infections in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), and that such strategies should include the gut as a target.
The study was carried out by scientists based at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings have been published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, in a study called “Sepsis From the Gut: The Enteric Habitat of Bacteria That Cause Late-Onset Neonatal Bloodstream Infections.”
More about Late preterm, Babies, Gut, Bacteria, microbiome
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