New way discovered to prevent sepsis in new born babies

In news

A team of scientists from United States of America (USA) has discovered an inexpensive prevention technique (therapy) against sepsis in newborn babies.
The team was led by US-based Indian doctor Pinaki Panigrahi.

Why?

Sepsis is a top killer of newborns worldwide. Each year more than 600,000 babies die of the blood infections, which can strike very quickly.

What is sepsis?

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Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by your body’s response to an infection. Your immune system protects you from many illnesses and infections, but it’s also possible for it to go into overdrive in response to an infection.

Sepsis develops when the chemicals the immune system releases into the bloodstream to fight an infection cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead. Severe cases of sepsis can lead to septic shock , which is a medical emergency.

Symptoms of sepsis include

  • a fever above 101ºF or a temperature below 96.8ºF
  • heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute
  • breathing rate higher than 20 breaths per minute
  • probable or confirmed infection

Newborns and sepsisRelated image

Neonatal sepsis is when your baby gets a blood infection within the first month of life. Neonatal sepsis is classified based on the timing of the infection, according to whether the infection was contracted during the birth process (early onset) or after birth (late onset). This helps the doctor decide what kind of treatment to administer. Low birth weight and premature babies are more susceptible to late onset sepsis because their immune systems are immature. While symptoms can be subtle and nonspecific some signs include:

  • listlessness
  • not breastfeeding well
  • low body temperature
  • apnea (temporary stopping of breathing)
  • fever
  • pale color
  • poor skin circulation with cool extremities
  • abdominal swelling
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • seizures
  • jitteriness
  • yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes ( jaundice )
  • problems feeding

Treatment

Scientists in the U.S. and India have found an inexpensive treatment that could possibly save hundreds of thousands of newborns each year.

And it turns out, the secret weapon was sitting in Asian kitchens all along: probiotic bacteria that are common in kimchi, pickles and other fermented vegetables.

Feeding babies the microbes dramatically reduces the risk newborns will developsepsis, scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature.

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