Neonatal Infection

Infants are at an increased risk of developing a serious infection because they have an immature immune system. Infections are likely in newborns when they have a fever.


Pneumonia, urinary tract infections, meningitis, and many viruses can be the cause of these infections.


  • Temperatures taken rectally below 97.9° F (36.6° C) or over 100.4° F (38° C).

  • Poor feeding.

  • Breathing problems.

  • Less active or irritable.

  • Rash or change in color of skin.


Checking to see if there is an infection may require blood and urine tests, cultures, chest X-rays, or even spinal fluid examination.


  • Hospital care may be required.

  • Intravenous (IV) fluids and antibiotic medicine to kill an infection may be given in the hospital.

  • Infants that do not look seriously ill may have a virus infection when they run a fever. In this case, antibiotics may not be prescribed.

Giving an antibiotic reduces the risk of complications, but can cause side effects and allergic reactions. Follow-up with your infant's doctor is important.


  • Your infant has a seizure or breathing problems.

  • Your infant has drowsiness, inability to feed, or throws up (vomits).

  • Your infant is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your infant is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.