Emira Ben Hamida Nouaili
Makrem Harouni
Sihem Chaouachi
Rachida Sfar
Zahra Marrakchi


Background : Early-onset neonatal bacterial infections continue to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the newborn.
The aim of this study was to determine the incidene, the risk factors and bacterial epidemiology of these infections.
Methods : All cases of early-onset neonatal bacterial infections were identified for the years 2001-2003 using data from obstetric and neonatal reports at the neonatal unit of Charles Nicolle Hospital.
Results : 144 cases were identified over 11 201 live births, that is an incidence of 12.85‰, of which 22 cases of sepsis infections. 22.9 % of all newborns were premature and 18% had a low birth weight.
Membrane rupture occurred more than 12 hours before delivery in 63.2 % of cases and an intra-partum fever in 57.7% of cases.
Half of newborns were symptomatic with a mean age of 7.5 hours at onset of symptomatology.
The principal etiologic agents were Group B Streptococcus (GBS) and Escherichia coli (E.coli), responsible respectively of 50 % and 29.1% of proved infections. GBS had been recognised as the most prevalent agent in term newborn (58.9%) and the E.coli in premature newborn (38.5%).
The neonatal mortality before discharge was 2.77% of all cases.
Conclusion : Neonatal bacterial infections continue to be a major cause of morbidity in the newborn. The most common etiologic agents remain GBS and E.coli.


Neonatal bacterial infections, Morbidity, Mortality



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