Neonatal early-onset sepsis (EOS) continues to be a significant source of morbidity and mortality among newborns, especially among very-low birthweight infants. Epidemiologic risk factors for EOS have been defined, and considerable resources are devoted to the identification and evaluation of infants at risk for EOS. The widespread implementation of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis for the prevention of early-onset neonatal group B Streptococcus (GBS) disease has reduced the overall incidence of neonatal EOS and influenced the microbiology of persistent early-onset infection. Most early-onset neonatal GBS disease now occurs in preterm infants or in term infants born to mothers who have negative GBS screening cultures. Ongoing clinical challenges include reassessment of clinical risk factors for EOS in the era of GBS prophylaxis; more accurate identification of GBS-colonized women; and continued surveillance of the impact of GBS prophylaxis practices on the microbiology of EOS, particularly among very low-birthweight infants.

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