Sepsis is one of the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in the newborn. Early diagnosis and treatment is vital to improve outcome. The present study was therefore carried out to determine the usefulness of C-reactive protein (CRP) for evaluation of neonatal sepsis in Port Harcourt, Nigeria in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Four hundred and twenty neonates with clinical suspicion of sepsis were prospectively studied over a 6 month period. Blood was obtained from each subject recruited for the qualitative estimation of CRP. Blood culture was used as gold standard for diagnosis of NNS.
Of 420 neonates studied, 196 (46.7%) had positive CRP while 181 (43.1%) had positive blood culture. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of CRP were 74.0%, 74.1%, 68.4% and 79.0% respectively.
The qualitative method of estimating CRP which is cheap and rapid has moderate sensitivity, specificity and negative predictive value.