Introduction This study describes cerebral ultrasound abnormalities caused by late-onset sepsis (LOS) in very preterm infants with a gestational age of < 32 weeks and/or birthweight < 1500 grams. Methods The prospective study ("INFANT study") included 117 preterm infants with suspected LOS. Proven LOS was defined as a positive blood culture after 72 hours of life. In case of coagulase-negative staphylococci an elevated C-reactive protein was additionally required to establish proven LOS. Patients were identified as proven LOS and patients with only clinical symptoms of LOS. Cerebral ultrasound images were obtained in the first week after birth, during/after LOS and before discharge. Cerebral findings were divided in no/minor and major abnormalities. Results Eighty-six preterm infants had proven LOS and 31 preterm infants had only clinical signs of LOS. Four infants were excluded because pre-existing major brain abnormalities. No significant differences (p = 0.624) for incidence of major brain abnormalities on cerebral ultrasound were found. Conclusion No differences were revealed in prevalence of major brain abnormalities between the groups with proven LOS and with clinical signs of LOS. Both infants with a gram negative sepsis developed major brain abnormalities, whereas only two of 66 preterm infants coagulase-negative staphylococci sepsis developed major brain abnormalities.