During the last decades advances in neonatal intensive care have led to an impressive decrease of neonatal mortality and morbidity. However, infectious episodes in the early postnatal period still remain serious and potentially life-threatening events with a mortality rate of up to 50% in very premature infants.
The signs and symptoms of neonatal sepsis can be clinically indistinguishable from various noninfectious conditions such as respiratory distress syndrome or maladaptation. Therefore rapid diagnosis is crucial for preventing the child from an adverse outcome. The current practice of starting empirical antibiotic therapy in all neonates showing infection-like symptoms results in their exposure to adverse drug effects, nosocomial complications, and in the emergence of resistant strains.