Preventing Bloodstream Infections and Death in Zambian Neonates: Impact of a Low-cost Infection Control Bundle.

Year of Publication


Date Published

2018 Dec 28

ISSN Number



<p><strong>Background: </strong>Sepsis is a leading cause of neonatal mortality in low-resource settings. As facility-based births become more common, the proportion of neonatal deaths due to hospital-onset sepsis has increased.</p>

<p><strong>Methods: </strong>We conducted a prospective cohort study in a neonatal intensive care unit in Zambia where we implemented a multi-faceted infection prevention and control (IPC) bundle consisting of IPC training, text message reminders, alcohol hand rub, enhanced environmental cleaning, and weekly bathing of babies ≥1.5 kg with 2% chlorhexidine gluconate. Hospital-associated sepsis, bloodstream infection (BSI), and mortality (&gt;3 days after admission) outcome data were collected for 6 months prior to and 11 months after bundle implementation.</p>

<p><strong>Results: </strong>Most enrolled neonates had a birthweight ≥1.5 kg (2131/2669, 79.8%). Hospital-associated mortality was lower during the intervention than baseline period (18.0% vs 23.6%). Total mortality was lower in the intervention than prior periods. Half of enrolled neonates (50.4%) had suspected sepsis; 40.8% of cultures were positive. Most positive blood cultures yielded a pathogen (409/549, 74.5%), predominantly Klebsiella pneumoniae (289/409, 70.1%). The monthly rate and incidence density rate of suspected sepsis were lower in the intervention period for all birthweight categories, except babies weighing &lt;1.0 kg. The rate of BSI with pathogen was also lower in the intervention than baseline period.</p>

<p><strong>Conclusions: </strong>A simple IPC bundle can reduce sepsis and death in neonates hospitalized in high-risk, low-resource settings. Further research is needed to validate these findings in similar settings and to identify optimal implementation strategies for improvement and sustainability. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT02386592.</p>



Alternate Title

Clin. Infect. Dis.




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