Background: Sepsis is one of the most common causes of neonatal hospital admissions and is estimated to cause 26% of all neonatal deaths worldwide. While waiting for results of blood culture, it is necessary to initiate an empirical choice of antibiotics based on the epidemiology of causative agents and antibiotic sensitivity pattern in a locality.
Objective: To determine the major causative organisms of neonatal sepsis at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), as well as their antibiotic sensitivity patterns, with the aim of formulating treatment protocols for neonates.
Methods: Within a 27-month period (1st of October 2011 to the 31st of December 2013), results of blood culture for all neonates screened for sepsis at the Special Care Baby Unit of the hospital were retrospectively studied.
Results: Two hundred and thirty-three (49.6%) of the 450 neonates admitted were screened for sepsis. Ninety-seven (43.5%) of them were blood culture positive, with 52 (53.6%) of the isolated organisms being Gram positive and 45 (46.4%) Gram negative. The most frequently isolated organism was Staphylococcus aureus (51.5%) followed by Escherichia coli (16.5%) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (14.4%). All isolated organisms demonstrated the highest sensitivity to the quinolones.
Conclusion: Neonatal sepsis is a significant cause of morbidity among neonates admitted at the NDUTH. There is a need for regular periodic surveillance of the causative organisms of neonatal sepsis as well as their antibiotic susceptibility pattern to inform the empirical choice of antibiotic prescription while awaiting blood culture results.