Published in August 2012, this new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline focuses on the use of antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of early-onset (within 72 hours of birth) bacterial infection in newborn babies, including those caused by GBS.
The new guideline makes a number of recommendations, including:
- A framework based on risk factors and clinical indicators should be used to identify and treat babies with an increased likelihood of having an early-onset neonatal infection.
- Intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis should be offered in a timely manner to women whose babies are at higher risk of infection (including all pregnant women from whom GBS is found during their current pregnancy).
- Babies with suspected early-onset neonatal infection should receive antibiotics as quickly as possible (within 1 hour of the decision to treat).
- Benzylpenicillin and gentamicin should be used in combination as the first-choice antibiotic regimen for treating suspected early onset neonatal infection.
- When starting antibiotic treatment in babies with risk factors for infection or clinical indicators of possible infection, a blood culture should be performed before administering the first dose.