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Bloodstream infections are a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in premature and low-birth-weight infants; due to non-specific manifestations, ‘rule out sepsis’ evaluations are commonly performed in the age group. After evaluation, broad spectrum antibiotics are administered while awaiting the results of bacterial cultures that have a yield of not more than 25%–27%.1 ,2
Viral causes of sepsis-like syndromes in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) have been underexplored, especially in the PCR era. Because a large majority of putatively septic episodes fail to yield a bacterial pathogen, we hypothesised that culture-negative septic episodes in very low-birth-weight NICU patients might have a viral origin.
The objective of the study was to identify non-respiratory viral causes of sepsis-like illness.
Contributors All authors substantially contributed to either the conception or the design of the study. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the data. RM performed all the assays and wrote the first draft of the manuscript; all others critically reviewed the manuscript and gave their approval for its final draft.
Funding This study was supported by National Institutes of Health grant no. UH3 AI 083265.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Washington University Human Research Protection Office.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.