An Audit of the Effect of Two Cord-Care Regimens on Bacterial Colonization in Newborn Infants
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Proper care of the umbilical cord of newborn infants may prevent later infections. When St Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, started using alcohol instead of triple dye for umbilical cord care, there was a dramatic increase in the incidence of bacterial colonization in newborns in the nursery and, later, in the number of cases of staphylococcus-related skin infections in infants born at the hospital. Follow-up on 1,545 infants revealed that triple dye was significantly more effective than alcohol in reducing the growth of gram-positive organisms, especially Staphylococcus aureus and group B streptococcus, and several gram-negative organisms. Because hospital medical staff had carefully collected data on bacterial colonization, they were quickly aware of the problem and could justify resuming the use of triple dye.
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