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Severe bacterial neonatal infections in Madagascar, Senegal, and Cambodia: A multicentric community-based cohort study

Abstract : Background : Severe bacterial infections (SBIs) are a leading cause of neonatal deaths in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, most data came from hospitals, which do not include neonates who did not seek care or were treated outside the hospital. Studies from the community are scarce, and few among those available were conducted with high-quality microbiological techniques. The burden of SBI at the community level is therefore largely unknown. We aimed here to describe the incidence, etiology, risk factors, and antibiotic resistance profiles of community-acquired neonatal SBI in 3 LMICs. Methods and findings : The BIRDY study is a prospective multicentric community-based mother and child cohort study and was conducted in both urban and rural areas in Madagascar (2012 to 2018), Cambodia (2014 to 2018), and Senegal (2014 to 2018). All pregnant women within a geographically defined population were identified and enrolled. Their neonates were actively followed from birth to 28 days to document all episodes of SBI. A total of 3,858 pregnant women (2,273 (58.9%) in Madagascar, 814 (21.1%) in Cambodia, and 771 (20.0%) in Senegal) were enrolled in the study, and, of these, 31.2% were primigravidae. Women enrolled in the urban sites represented 39.6% (900/2,273), 45.5% (370/814), and 61.9% (477/771), and those enrolled in the rural sites represented 60.4% (1,373/2,273), 54.5% (444/814), and 38.1% (294/771) of the total in Madagascar, Cambodia, and Senegal, respectively. Among the 3,688 recruited newborns, 49.6% were male and 8.7% were low birth weight (LBW). The incidence of possible severe bacterial infection (pSBI; clinical diagnosis based on WHO guidelines of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness) was 196.3 [95% confidence interval (CI) 176.5 to 218.2], 110.1 [88.3 to 137.3], and 78.3 [59.5 to 103] per 1,000 live births in Madagascar, Cambodia, and Senegal, respectively. The incidence of pSBI differed between urban and rural sites in all study countries. In Madagascar, we estimated an incidence of 161.0 pSBI per 1,000 live births [133.5 to 194] in the urban site and 219.0 [192.6 to 249.1] pSBI per 1,000 live births in the rural site ( p = 0.008). In Cambodia, estimated incidences were 141.1 [105.4 to 189.0] and 85.3 [61.0 to 119.4] pSBI per 1,000 live births in urban and rural sites, respectively ( p = 0.025), while in Senegal, we estimated 103.6 [76.0 to 141.2] pSBI and 41.5 [23.0 to 75.0] pSBI per 1,000 live births in urban and rural sites, respectively ( p = 0.006). The incidences of culture-confirmed SBI were 15.2 [10.6 to 21.8], 6.5 [2.7 to 15.6], and 10.2 [4.8 to 21.3] per 1,000 live births in Madagascar, Cambodia, and Senegal, respectively, with no difference between urban and rural sites in each country. The great majority of early-onset infections occurred during the first 3 days of life (72.7%). The 3 main pathogens isolated were Klebsiella spp. (11/45, 24.4%), Escherichia coli (10/45, 22.2%), and Staphylococcus spp. (11/45, 24.4%). Among the 13 gram-positive isolates, 5 were resistant to gentamicin, and, among the 29 gram-negative isolates, 13 were resistant to gentamicin, with only 1 E. coli out of 10 sensitive to ampicillin. Almost one-third of the isolates were resistant to both first-line drugs recommended for the management of neonatal sepsis (ampicillin and gentamicin). Overall, 38 deaths occurred among neonates with SBI (possible and culture-confirmed SBI together). LBW and foul-smelling amniotic fluid at delivery were common risk factors for early pSBI in all 3 countries. A main limitation of the study was the lack of samples from a significant proportion of infants with pBSI including 35 neonatal deaths. Without these samples, bacterial infection and resistance profiles could not be confirmed. Conclusions : In this study, we observed a high incidence of neonatal SBI, particularly in the first 3 days of life, in the community of 3 LMICs. The current treatment for the management of neonatal infection is hindered by antimicrobial resistance. Our findings suggest that microbiological diagnosis of SBI remains a challenge in these settings and support more research on causes of neonatal death and the implementation of early interventions (e.g., follow-up of at-risk newborns during the first days of life) to decrease the burden of neonatal SBI and associated mortality and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 9:15:36 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 10:10:46 AM
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Bich-Tram Huynh, Elsa Kermorvant-Duchemin, Rattanak Chheang, Frederique Randrianirina, Abdoulaye Seck, et al.. Severe bacterial neonatal infections in Madagascar, Senegal, and Cambodia: A multicentric community-based cohort study. PLoS Medicine, Public Library of Science, 2021, 18 (9), pp.e1003681. ⟨10.1371/journal.pmed.1003681⟩. ⟨pasteur-03357830⟩



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