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Is Lower Vitamin D Level Associated with Increased Risk of Neonatal Sepsis? A Prospective Cohort Study

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To evaluate the effect of maternal/ neonatal vitamin D levels on culture positive neonatal sepsis.


This prospective cohort study was conducted in the NICU of a tertiary care teaching hospital in Odisha, Eastern India from January 2015 through December 2016. Forty (40) neonates with culture positive sepsis were included in the study group. Forty (40) healthy neonates admitted for evaluation of neonatal jaundice who are similar in gender, gestational age, postnatal age and without any clinical signs of sepsis were recruited as control group after informed consent. Vitamin D level (25 OH D) was assessed in the neonates and their mothers in both the groups.


Neonatal 25 OH vitamin D level in the study group (12.71 ± 2.82 ng/ml) was significantly lower than in the control group (25.46 ± 7.02 ng/ml). The Odds ratio was 273 (95% CI 30.39–2451.6) for culture positive sepsis in neonates with vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency. Mothers of septic neonates had significantly lower 25 OH vitamin D level (20.92 ± 3.92 ng/ml) than the mothers of healthy neonates in control group (27.31 ± 6.83 ng/ml). The Odds ratio was 4.71 (95% CI 1.69–13.1) for culture positive sepsis in babies born to mothers with vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency.


Neonates with vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency are at higher risk for developing sepsis than those with sufficient vitamin D levels. Lower vitamin D levels in mothers is also associated with increased risk of sepsis in the neonates.

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To all staff nurses and residents working in NICU, to all parents who have given their consent for the study.

Author information

CKB: Conceptualisation of the study, data collection; JPS: Manuscipt writing, collection of data; SDP: Collection of data; PKJ: Statistical design, statistical calculation. CKB is the guarantor for this paper.

Correspondence to Jagdish Prasad Sahoo.

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Behera, C.K., Sahoo, J.P., Patra, S.D. et al. Is Lower Vitamin D Level Associated with Increased Risk of Neonatal Sepsis? A Prospective Cohort Study. Indian J Pediatr (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12098-020-03188-0

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  • 25 OH vitamin D
  • Neonatal sepsis