Fever in full-term newborns in the first four days of life

S. Voora, G. Srinivasan, L. D. Lilien, T. F. Yeh, R. S. Pildes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Over a period of 18 months, 100 full-term newborns developed an axillary or a rectal temperature ≥37.8 C during the first four days of postnatal life. These febrile term newborns represented 1% of all full-term newborns in the normal nursery. Of the febrile newborns, 10% had culture-proven bacterial disease (BD). Fever developed in 54%, 27%, 13%, and 6% on the first, second, third, and fourth days, respectively. In 17 newborns fever developed within the first hour of life; 13 of these had mothers with fever and two others were under a radiant warmer in the birth room. Fever occurring on the third day of postnatal life had a significantly higher chance of being associated with BD than fever occurring at any other time in the first four days of postnatal life. Newborns with temperature ≥39 C had a significantly higher incidence of BD than newborns with temperature <39 C. The incidence of fever among breast-fed newborns (0.98%) was similar to that of formula-fed newborns (1.01%). Of the 100 febrile newborns, 45 had other symptoms compatible with BD, and eight of these had proven BD (group B Streptococcus in five, group D Streptococus in one, Shigella D in one, and Propionibacterium species in one). The two other febrile newborns with proven BD had no other symptoms of infection (group B Streptococcus and Escherichia coli). Mean WBC count of febrile newborns with BD was significantly lower than that of febrile newborns without BD. Only three febrile newborns had WBC count <5,000/cu mm and two of them had proven BD. Febrile newborns should be evaluated and treated with antibiotics when they have symptoms of infection other than fever or when the fever persists or recurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 5 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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