A single dose of the antibiotic azithromycin can help protect mothers from dangerous sepsis infections and death during vaginal childbirth, a sweeping new international study from a UVA Health scientist and his collaborators has found.
Azithromycin, also known as Z-Pak, has already been shown to benefit women delivering by cesarean section. But the new findings reveal that the common antibiotic reduces mortality for women delivering vaginally and cuts their risk of developing sepsis, a potentially fatal full-body infection.
Infections, particularly sepsis, are responsible for 10% of maternal deaths shortly before, during and after childbirth, putting such infections in the top five causes of maternal mortality worldwide.
“A single dose of the antibiotic azithromycin decreased sepsis and death by half in women in labor,” said researcher William A. Petri Jr., MD, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health. “The simplicity of this intervention should allow its institution around the globe to protect mothers during childbirth.”
Read full press release in the UVA Health Newsroom.