Prevalence of maternal and neonatal infections in a developing country: possible low-cost preventive measures.

J. J. Urrutia, R. Sosa, J. H. Kennell, M. Klaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The frequency and duration of infectious illnesses in 408 pregnant rural women and 417 poor urban infants in Guatemala have been investigated, together with morbidity and mortality among the offspring of the rural women. Rural women suffered high rates of infection during the gestation period. Symptomatic illnesses, mainly acute respiratory infection and diarrhoeal disease, usually showed a higher incidence during the last months of pregnancy. Significant bacteriuria was identified in 21% of the women, though symptoms of urinary tract infection were found in about 25%. Vaginal infection was found in 38% of women at the beginning of pregnancy and in 79% at its end. Twelve per cent of women showed evidence of reactivated infections with cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus and Toxoplasma gondii. The neonatal mortality rate in the rural population was 37.7 per 1000 liveborn infants. Most deaths were among preterm babies. Significant bacteriuria was related to low birth weight. Morbidity in rural neonates was also high, but the illnesses were not severe and had a short duration. Neonatal morbidity in poor urban infants was also high. Breast-feeding had a protective effect: breast-fed rural and poor urban infants had a lower incidence of illness than urban babies who were not breast-fed. The influence of infection during pregnancy on the conceptus and some low-cost measures for reducing it are discussed. Measures for decreasing neonatal morbidity in rural and poor urban ureas are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-186
Number of pages16
JournalCiba Foundation symposium
Issue number77
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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