Neonatologists in 100 special care baby units in the United Kingdom and Ireland collaborated in a four year surveillance study of neonatal necrotising enterocolitis. The average overall annual reporting rate of necrotising enterocolitis for infants in England and Wales was 0.3/1000 live births, but ranged from 9.5/1000 live births in infants weighing less than 1000 g at birth to 0.2/1000 live births in infants weighing 2500 g or more. There were more deaths among girls, infants who weighed less than 1500 g at birth, those whose bleeding was abnormal or who had low peripheral platelet counts, infants with Gram negative bacteraemia, and very low birthweight infants who developed it during the first few days of life. In both boys and girls, and in all birthweight groups, operation was associated with increased mortality.
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