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Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC): Overview

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NEC is the most common, serious gastrointestinal disease affecting newborn infants. Health care providers consider this disease as a medical and surgical emergency. The condition is most commonly seen in premature infants. The NICHD supports and conducts research to understand the causes of NEC, to seek better treatments for this condition, and to find ways to prevent it.

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Common Names

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • NEC (often pronounced as “neck”)

Medical or Scientific Names

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • NEC
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