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

By Lawrence Mwananyanda, Cassandra Pierre, James Mwansa, Carter Cowden, A Russell Localio, Monica L Kapasa, Sylvia Machona, Chileshe Lukwesa Musyani, Moses M Chilufya, Gertrude Munanjala, Angela Lyondo, Matthew A Bates, Susan E Coffin, Davidson H Hamer. Published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. To be published October 15, 2019.   


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. We conducted a prospective cohort study in a neonatal intensive care unit in Zambia where we implemented a multifaceted 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 (>3 days after admission) outcome data were collected for 6 months prior to and 11 months after bundle implementation. Most enrolled neonates had a birth weight ≥1.5 kg (2131/2669 [79.8%]). Hospital-associated mortality was lower during the intervention than baseline period (18.0% vs 23.6%, respectively). 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 birth weight categories, except babies weighing <1.0 kg. The rate of BSI with pathogen was also lower in the intervention than baseline period. 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.

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View the accompanying editorial ‘Hospital-onset Neonatal Sepsis and Mortality in Low-resource Settings: Will Bundles Save the Day? By Julia Johnson, Aaron M Milstone. Access editorial here.



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Monday, 17 February 2020