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Neonatal purpura fulminans manifestation in early-onset group B Streptococcal infection

Mistake in diagnosis, Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents, Management of emergency care, Rare disease

May AlBarrak, Abdulrahman Al-Matary

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Am J Case Rep 2013; 14:315-317

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.889352

Available online:

Published: 2013-08-16

Background: Neonatal purpura fulminans (PF) is a rare but frequently fatal disorder associated with high morbidity and mortality. It may be congenital, as a result of protein C and S deficiency, or acquired due to severe infection. Gram-negative organisms and Staphylococcus species are the most common causes of the acute infectious type, and a few cases of causative neonatal group B Streptococcus (GBS) disease have been reported worldwide.
Case Report: We present a full-term male neonate with purpura fulminans secondary to early-onset group B streptococcal (GBS) infection. The mother brought the infant to the emergency department at the age of 43 hours of life, with fever (39.5°C) and lethargy. Neonatal sepsis was suspected, and he was immediately started on intravenous ampicillin and gentamicin. The initial workup revealed disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, and both blood and CSF cultures grew GBS. He had normal levels of protein C and protein S for his age. The infant died 48 hours after admission due to multiorgan system failure despite aggressive neonatal intensive care support.
Conclusions: Neonatal PF secondary to early-onset GBS infection is a fatal condition that should not be missed. Screening pregnant women for GBS colonization and use of protocols for preventing perinatal GBS infection is considered the most important preventive measure of this fatal condition, especially among Saudi women, who have a relatively high rate of GBS infection.

Keywords: early onset sepsis, GBS, neonatal, purpura fulminans