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Fever in healthy asymptomatic newborns during the first days of life


Objective: To determine the characteristics of febrile full term infants during the first days of life, and to discover the rate of serious bacterial infections among low risk neonates with systemic fever.

Design: A retrospective case-control study of 122 cases and 122 controls in a single institution.

Results: Weight loss, breast feeding, caesarean section delivery, and high birth weight were found to be the most significant predictors of developing fever during the first days of life. Of the 122 patients in the study group, only one had a serious bacterial infection (a positive urine culture for group B streptococcus).

Conclusions: In low risk full term infants, fever with no other symptoms during the first days of life (but after the first day) is related primarily to dehydration, breast feeding, caesarean section, and high birth weight. Infection is the least common explanation.

  • fever, dehydration
  • breast feeding
  • caesarean section
  • infection

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