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Sepsis is the body's response to infection that has spread throughout the blood and tissues.
Babies with sepsis may:
Sepsis is an infection caused by bacteria growing in the blood. The bacteria can get into the blood:
A blood culture – sometimes along with a urine test or spinal tap – is used to diagnose the illness.
When doctors suspect sepsis, they'll treat the baby with antibiotics until the lab results come back (usually in 48 hours). If those results are positive for sepsis, the baby receives antibiotics for 7 to 14 more days while being closely watched.
Cases of sepsis are often severe (the infection can lead to meningitis, organ damage, and occasionally, death) and require a fairly long NICU stay, sometimes several weeks.