The Surviving Sepsis Campaign, an international group dedicated to improving prevention and treatment of sepsis, has now released its first international guideline specifically for management of sepsis and septic shock in children.

This guideline represents contributions from 49 experts in infectious diseases, critical care, emergency medicine, evidence-based medicine and guideline methodology, as well as community representatives. The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society provided a representative to the group who provided the perspective and expertise of pediatric infectious disease clinicians, and a focus on the importance of antimicrobial stewardship.

Infectious diseases expertise has been included in many recommendations, including considerations regarding choice of initial antibiotic therapy, identification of appropriate duration of therapy, importance of source control, and the relative importance of timely antibiotics in patients presenting with suspected sepsis. One novel recommendation is to permit a delay in administration of antibiotics for up to 3 hours for expeditious evaluation and diagnosis in patients with suspected sepsis but without shock.

The importance of antimicrobial stewardship has been emphasized throughout the guidelines, including in recommendations to evaluate the effect of sepsis-screening programs on inappropriate antibiotic administration, to perform expeditious evaluation of patients with suspected sepsis to allow responsible antibiotic use, choosing appropriately broad initial antimicrobial therapy, and identifying opportunities for discontinuation or targeting antibiotic therapy.

The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society is proud to endorse these guidelines, which will improve the care of children with sepsis or septic shock around the world.