NEC (pronounced “neck”) is an intestinal disease that affects infants in their first weeks and months of life. The word “necrotizing” means the process of tissue death and the word “enterocolitis” means inflammation of the small intestine or colon.
Every year in the United States, NEC affects thousands of babies. Very low birthweight babies (VLBW) are most likely to develop NEC, but it can also affect babies with a medical condition, like a congenital heart defect. There is no reliable data on the number of term, cardiac, and other non-VLBW babies affected by NEC, but we know too many other babies continue to be affected by this devastating disease. The NEC Society is working hard to improve our understanding, prevention, and treatment of the disease of all babies.