Sepsis is a serious but rare infection that is usually caused by bacteria. It occurs when bacteria, which can originate in a child's lungs, intestines, urinary tract, or gallbladder, make toxins that cause the body's immune system to attack the body's own organs and tissues.

  1. Sepsis in newborns produces few concrete symptoms, though symptoms can vary widely between from child to child. Frequently, these babies suddenly aren't feeling well or "just don't look right" to their caretakers.
  2. Some of the more common signs or symptoms of sepsis in newborns and young infants include:
  3. disinterest or difficulty in feeding
  4. fever (above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit [38 degrees Celsius] rectally) or sometimes low, unstable temperatures
  5. irritability or increased crankiness
  6. lethargy (not interacting and listless)
  7. decreased tone (floppiness)
  8. changes in heart rate - either faster than normal (early sepsis) or significantly slower than usual (late sepsis, usually associated with shock)
  9. breathing very quickly or difficulty breathing
  10. periods where the baby seems to stop breathing for more than 10 seconds (apnea)
  11. jaundice