Background: The extensive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics has been associated with major changes in the spectrum of organisms involved in early-onset neonatal infection (EONI), their susceptibility to antibiotics, or both. Therefore, guidelines for a more rational use of antibiotics in neonates have been developed. We conducted a population-based observational study to assess the effectiveness and compliance with restrictive guidelines for the antibiotic therapy in EONI.
Methods: Neonates receiving antibiotics within 72 hours of life were identified prospectively by population-based surveillance in the 18 hospitals of Burgundy, between February 2002 and June 2003. They were treated in accordance with guidelines limiting the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and shortening the treatment duration. Each neonate included was evaluated for 60 days after birth. An unfavorable outcome was defined as death related to EONI or late-onset infection.
Results: Of the 25,480 infants born during the study period, 1012 received antibiotics at birth. Of these 1012 infants, 39 were definitely infected (septicemia), 288 clinically infected and 685 not infected. The EONI cure rate was 96.8% without infectious relapse. Forty-five infants received a second course of antibiotic therapy. Birth weight (OR: 5.6; 95% CI: 2.2–14.1), mechanical ventilation (OR: 4.1; 95% CI: 1.3–13.1), central venous catheterization (OR: 16.1; 95% CI: 1.8–141.9), and antibiotic therapy duration (OR: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.1–5.5) were independently associated with late-onset infection.
Conclusion: Reducing the antibiotic therapy duration does not increase the risk of infectious relapse and may decrease the incidence of late-onset infection.