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A Widespread Epidemic of Mild Necrotizing Enterocolitis of Unknown Cause

Craig L. Anderson, MD; Marc F. Collin, MD; J. Paul O'Keefe, MD; Malliswari Challapalli, MD; Thomas F. Myers, MD; Candace C. Caldwell, MD; Gasudraz S. S. Ahmed, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(10):979-983. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140480081025.
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• Within a 28-day period, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) developed In 20 of 38 infants (53%). Patients with NEC were compared with the remaining 18 infants hospitalized at the same time who did not acquire the disease. Complications of pregnancy and labor-delivery and infant care practices did not differ between groups. Mean chronologic age was significantly different between patients with NEC and those without, 29 days v 77 days. Mean postconceptional age at the time of the outbreak was also significantly different, 33.4 weeks v 42.3 weeks. None of the cultures demonstrated a specific common pathogen. The low mortality (5%) and the large number of Infants affected suggest an atypical outbreak of NEC. We could not isolate a causative agent despite extensive epidemiologic investigation, and suggest that postconceptional age delineates those at risk.

(AJDC 1984;138:979-983)

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