Sepsis is a common and potentially devastating occurrence in NICUs. Sepsis is defined as the constellation of findings making up the systemic inflammatory response syndrome plus an infection. Newer studies now suggest that treatment of infants who have nonspecific signs of illness with prolonged antibiotics can lead to serious complications. The complexities of practicing medicine in the NICU sometimes limit our ability to secure a diagnosis of culture proven sepsis. The administration of antibiotics until bacterial infection can be reasonably ruled out should occur concurrently with evaluations of other plausible noninfectious diagnoses.

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