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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 11 (2003), Issue 4, Pages 221-226

Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis and Early-Onset Neonatal Sepsis Patterns

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA
2Department of Information Services, Shands Hospital at the University of Florida, PO Box 100294, 1600 SW Archer Road, Gainesville 32610–0294, FL, USA

Received 12 May 2003; Accepted 24 August 2003

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective: To compare the relative effects of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis regimens on patterns of early-onset neonatal sepsis.

Methods: We performed an historical cohort study of 17 187 infants born at our center from September 1993 to February 2000. A risk-based strategy was employed prior to July 1996 and a screening-based strategy was utilized thereafter. Ampicillin was utilized prior to March 1995 and penicillin was used thereafter.

Results: There were 75 cases of neonatal sepsis, 34 (4.10/1000) in the risk-based era and 41 (4.63/1000) in the screening-based era (p = 0.62). There were fewer ampicillin-resistant isolates during the risk-based than the screening-based era (32 versus 61%; p = 0.014). The only significant change in organism-specific sepsis rates was an increase in the rate of infection caused by coagulase-negative staphylococci in the screening-based era (0.36 versus 1.46/1000; p = 0.018), but 75% of infants infected with these organisms were not exposed to ß-lactam antibiotics within 72 h prior to delivery. For the risk- and screening-based eras, respectively, the rates of Gram-negative sepsis (1.21 versus 1.46/1000; p = 0.65) and the proportions of Gram-negative pathogens that were ampicillin-resistant (70 versus 77%; p = 1.0) were similar. The drug employed for prophylaxis did not appear to affect the pattern of sepsis cases.

Conclusion: In our patient population, coagulase-negative staphylococci have become the most common cause of early-onset neonatal sepsis. The cause of this shift in pathogen prevalence is uncertain and seemingly unrelated to intrapartum antibiotic exposure.