Early onset neonatal sepsis (EONS) and late onset neonatal sepsis (LONS) are important causes of neonatal mortality and morbidity. A pressing need for reliable and detailed data of low- and middle-income countries exists. This study aimed to describe the incidence and outcome of neonatal sepsis in the only tertiary hospital of Suriname, a middle-income country in South America.
Infants born at the Academic Hospital of Paramaribo from May 2017 through December 2018 were prospectively included at birth. Perinatal data, duration of antibiotic treatment, blood culture results and mortality data were gathered. Neonatal sepsis was defined as positive blood culture with a pathogenic microorganism within the first 28 days of life.
Of the 2190 infants included, 483 (22%) were admitted to neonatal (intensive) care. The incidence of EONS was 2.1 (95% CI: 0.9–5) per 1000 live births, with no deaths. Antibiotics for suspected EONS were administrated to 189 (8.6%) infants, of whom 155 (82%) were born prematurely. The incidence of LONS cases was 145 (95% CI: 114–176) per 1000 admissions. Gramnegative bacteria accounted for 70% (48 out of 70) of causative organisms. Seventeen deaths were directly caused by sepsis (35 per 1000 admissions).
Findings from this tertiary center birth cohort study in a middle-income setting indicate EONS incidence and outcomes comparable to high-income settings, whereas LONS is a more prevalent and significant challenge with a predominance of gram-negative bacteria, and high mortality.