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Infection is one of the leading causes of perinatal mortality worldwide – accounting for 36% of cases. Perinatal mortality in Latvia is slowly decreasing: from 7.3 per 1000 live births in 2013 to 6.7 per 1000 live births in 2015. Intrauterine infection still is a global problem and a significant factor that affects morbidity and mortality of the mother and the child.
This study includes data about the cause of death, including infections, from 417 autopsy protocols of all fetuses and neonates between 22 weeks of gestation and < 7 days postpartum from 2013 to 2015.
The main cause of perinatal mortality was antenatal fetal asphyxia in 50% (n=210), followed by infections – 39% (n=163), including cases of chorioamnionitis. The highest mortality rate was found in the 22nd–27th+6 (i.e. 27 full weeks and 6 days) gestational weeks – 32% of cases (n=135). Intrauterine pneumonia accounted for 24% (n=39) of all the infection caused deaths, meconium aspiration pneumonia – 0.04% (n=6), early neonatal sepsis – 0.03% (n=4) and specific infections like syphilis and cytomegalovirus – 0.02% (n=3). Histological examination of the placenta, the placental cord and fetal membranes was made in 61% (n=255) of cases, and 19.6% (n=50) of them had an infection.