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In recent decades, overall child mortality in low-income countries has improved dramatically, but the same rate of improvement has not been seen in neonatal mortality: in South Asia, the proportion of all child deaths that occurred in the neonatal period rose from 45% in 1990 to 59% in 2017. The cause of most neonatal deaths is obvious—congenital anomalies, prematurity or birth asphyxia—but an estimated one-third of deaths appear to be due to infection. To tackle this problem we need to know what organisms are responsible. The difficulty is that in resource-poor settings, there are usually no facilities for …
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