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Sepsis in premature infants

Disease definition

A rare systemic condition affecting neonates born at less than 37 weeks gestational age and characterized by life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to an infection, which may have been acquired shortly before or during birth (resulting in early-onset neonatal sepsis during the first 72 hours of life), or after birth (leading to late-onset neonatal sepsis between 72 hours and three months). Prematurity constitutes one of the primary risk factors for neonatal sepsis. The clinical picture may develop gradually with signs and symptoms like irritability, lethargy, or poor feeding, or progress rapidly to respiratory distress, fever, hypothermia, hypotension, shock, and multiple organ failure.


Classification level: Disorder
  • Synonym(s): -
  • Prevalence: 1-5 / 10 000
  • Inheritance: Not applicable 
  • Age of onset: Neonatal
  • ICD-10: P36.0  P36.1  P36.2  P36.3  P36.4  P36.5  P36.8  P36.9
  • OMIM: -
  • UMLS: C5681350
  • MeSH: -
  • GARD: -
  • MedDRA: -
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