NEONATAL INFECTIONS

What are Some Common Neonatal Infections?

The first 28 days of an infant’s life is referred to as the neonatal period.  During this time, the newborn’s immune system is still developing, and he or she is susceptible to infections from bacteria, viruses and parasites.  In some cases, these infections are transmitted from the mother to her child during pregnancy.  If not treated properly and in a timely fashion, neonatal infections can be dangerous.  They can cause developmental delays, brain damage, heart problems and sensory problems.  They can even lead to death.  Therefore, it is extremely important for neonatal infections to be diagnosed and properly treated to prevent further complications.

Many neonatal infections cause similar symptoms.  As a result, parents should call a doctor if they notice any of the following warning signs in their children:  poor feeding, breathing difficulties, can increase or decrease in body temperature, a change in skin color or rash, persistent crying, or sleep abnormalities.

The following are common types of neonatal infections:

Congenital Infections:  Congenital infections are passed from the mother to her child during pregnancy or delivery.  The most common congenital infection is cytomegalovirus (CMV).  Other infections include HIV, rubella, chickenpox, syphilis and herpes.  The risk of complications developing in the child often depends upon the stage of pregnancy a mother is in when she contracted the illness.  For example, if a mother gets rubella during the first trimester, then the baby is at a greater risk of developing brain damage, deafness, or heart disease.

Listeriosis:  Known by its scientific name listeria monocytogenes, listeriosis is a bacterial infection that usually results from eating contaminated food.  It can be transmitted from a mother to her child during pregnancy and can result in premature birth or even stillbirth if left untreated.  The infection is usually detected by a blood or spinal fluid test and be treated with antibiotics.

Conjunctivitis:  Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is a bacterial or viral infection of a baby’s eye membranes.  It causes the eyes to turn red and discharge pus and fluid.  Conjunctivitis is treated by eye drops, antibiotics, or ointment.

Candidiasis:  Caused by the yeast candida commonly found in the body, candidiasis is a fungal infection that can look like diaper rash.  However, babies can also develop white patches on their tongues, palates, lips and the insides of their cheeks.  The infection is usually transmitted while the baby is passing through the birth canal or during breastfeeding.  It is treated with  an antifungal medication.

How Can Neonatal Infections Be Prevented?

If a pregnant woman is tested for various infections, preventative measures can be taken to lower the risk of her passing on the disease to her child.  For instance, a woman with listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, while a woman with HIV can take an antiretroviral medication to prevent her from passing the infection on to her unborn child.  While pregnant, women should wash their hands often and avoid cat and other animal feces to avoid infections.

How Gallivan & Gallivan Can Help If Your Child Was Diagnosed with a Neonatal Infection

Left untreated, neonatal infections can lead to developmental delays, neurological problems, brain damage, heart problems, and even death.  In some cases, medical professionals may fail to diagnose neonatal infections or may not provide adequate and timely treatment.  If your child has been diagnosed with a neonatal infection, Gallivan & Gallivan may be able to help.  We will investigate your child’s medical records and consult with a pediatric specialist to determine the cause of your child’s condition.  If his or her neonatal infection could have been prevented, we will recover compensation from those responsible.  Call Gallivan & Gallivan for a free consultation.

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