Cultureconfirmed neonatal bloodstream infections and meningitis in South Africa 201419 a crosssectional study

Background: Few population-level estimates of invasive neonatal infections have been reported from sub-Saharan Africa. We estimated the national incidence risk, aetiology, and pathogen antimicrobial susceptibility for cultureconfirmed neonatal bloodstream infections and meningitis in South Africa. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of neonates (<28 days of life) admitted to neonatal or paediatric wards of 256 public sector health facilities in South Africa during 2014–19. Diagnostic pathology records from Jan 1, 2014, to Dec 31, 2019, were extracted from a national pathology data warehouse. A case was defined as a neonate with at least one positive blood or cerebrospinal fluid culture during a 14-day period. Incidence risk was calculated using annual numbers of registered livebirths. Among the causative pathogens identified, we calculated the proportion of cases attributed to each of them, as well as the rates of antibiotic susceptibility of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Findings: Among 43 438 records of positive cultures, there were 37 631 incident cases of neonatal infection with at least one pathogen isolated. The overall incidence risk of culture-confirmed infections was 6·0 per 1000 livebirths (95% CI 6·0–6·1). The incidence risk of late-onset sepsis (days 3–27 of life) was 4·9 per 1000 livebirths (4·9–5·0) and that of early-onset sepsis (days 0–2 of life) was 1·1 per 1000 livebirths (1·1–1·1); risk ratio 4·4 (95% CI 4·3–4·5). The cause of infection differed by syndrome, timing of infection onset, facility, and province, although Klebsiella pneumoniae (26%), Acinetobacter baumannii (13%), and Staphylococcus aureus (12%) were the dominant pathogens overall. Gram-negative bacteria had declining susceptibility to most antibiotics over the study period. Interpretation We found a high incidence risk of late-onset sepsis with provincial variations, predominance of K pneumoniae, and declining antibiotic susceptibility among Gram-negative bacteria. This national surveillance in an upper-middle-income country provides a baseline burden of neonatal infections against which the impact of future clinical and public health interventions can be measured.
Meningitis, Neonatal bloodstream, Neonatal infections, Sub-Saharan Africa
Mashau RC, Meiring ST, Dramowski A, et al. Culture-confirmed neonatal bloodstream infections and meningitis in South Africa, 2014-19: a cross-sectional study. Lancet Glob Health. 2022;10(8):e1170-e1178. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(22)00246-7