in: Selected Topics in Neonatal Care, R. Mauricio Barría, Editor, InTechOpen, Londrina, pp.85-96, 2018
Neonatal meningitis continues to be a problematic issue of neonatology and pediatric infectious diseases with its incidence of 0.8–6.1 in 1000 live births, high case fatality rate, and neurological sequelae. Major risk factors for contracting meningitis in the newborn period include maternal peripartum infection, premature rupture of membranes, premature birth, fetal hypoxia, septic or traumatic birth, low birth weight, and galactosemia. The leading causative agent is group B streptococci (in almost half of the cases), and a quarter of cases are due to Escherichia coli. Vertical transmission from the mother is often the route of infection. Neonatal meningitis may not be distinguishable clinically from neonatal sepsis without meningitis. Meticulous care should be taken to perform lumbar puncture whenever the patient’s status permits since it is an indispensable tool for diagnosis. Initial empirical therapy may consist of ampicillin and cefotaxime, ampicillin and gentamicin, or ampicillin + gentamicin + cefotaxime during the first week of life. Ampicillin + gentamicin + cefotaxime for nonhospitalized infants and the same combination with the replacement of ampicillin with vancomycin for infants still in hospital are suitable options after the first week.