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Neonatal infections due to multi-resistant strains: Epidemiology, current treatment, emerging therapeutic approaches and prevention.

Severe infections represent the main cause of neonatal mortality accounting for more than one million neonatal deaths worldwide every year. Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed medications in neonatal intensive care units. The benefits of antibiotic therapy when indicated are clearly enormous, but the continued and widespread use of antibiotics has generated over the years a strong selective pressure on microorganisms, favoring the emergence of resistant strains. Health agencies worldwide are galvanizing attention toward antibiotic resistance in gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Infections in neonatal units due to multidrug and extensively multidrug resistant bacteria are rising and are already seriously challenging antibiotic treatment options. While there is a growing choice of agents against multi-resistant gram-positive bacteria, new options for multi-resistant gram-negative bacteria in the clinical practice have decreased significantly in the last 20 years making the treatment of infections caused by multidrug-resistant pathogens challenging mostly in neonates. Treatment options are currently limited and will be some years before any new treatment for neonates become available for clinical use, if ever. The aim of the review is to highlight the current knowledge on antibiotic resistance in the neonatal population, the possible therapeutic choices, and the prevention strategies to adopt in order to reduce the emergency and spread of resistant strains.

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