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Impact of bovine lactoferrin supplementation on incidence of late-onset sepsis in low birth weight neonates

Posted:  Friday, August 26, 2016

Efficacy of bovine lactoferrin in preventing incidence of late-onset sepsis in low birth weight neonates

A total of 30%–50% of all neonatal deaths in developing countries are associated with neonatal sepsis. Decrease in birth weight and gestational age leads to increased risk of late-onset sepsis (LOS). The antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immune-regulatory and growth-promoting characteristics of bovine lactoferrin (BLF) are known to be beneficial for host defence and preventing bacterial translocation in very low birth weight infants. A study published in the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics aimed to investigate the efficacy of BLF in preventing first incidence of LOS in low birth weight (LBW) infants.

In this study, 130 inborn neonates (<2000 g), admitted to neonatal intensive care unit within 12 h of birth, with no maternal risk factor for sepsis, were enrolled. Each neonate was randomised to receive either BLF or placebo once daily from 1st to 28th day of life. The incidence of culture-proven bacterial or fungal sepsis and sepsis-related mortality after 72 h of life were recorded.

Significant reduction in first incidence of culture-proven LOS was observed in the BLF group (3.2%) compared to the placebo group (13.4%). Statistically significant reduction in sepsis-related mortality was observed with the use of prophylactic BLF compared to placebo.

Few of the study limitations included small sample size, notably lower prevalence of pregnancy-induced hypertension in the control group and intergroup variation in the duration of intravenous fluid infusion.

The study concluded that BLF supplementation can potentially lead to reduced incidence of LOS and sepsis-related mortality in LBW infants.

News Source: Kaur Gathwala G. Efficacy of Bovine Lactoferrin Supplementation in Preventing Late-onset Sepsis in low Birth Weight Neonates: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. J Trop Pediatr. 2015;61(5):370-376.