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December 30, 2019

Decreasing Staphylococcus aureus in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit by Decolonizing Parents

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, New York
  • 2Department of Infection Prevention and Control, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York
JAMA. Published online December 30, 2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.20784

Infants hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) continue to pose challenges for infection prevention and control.1 Immunologic immaturity in addition to iatrogenic risk factors, such as high rates of invasive device use in premature infants and complex surgical procedures for infants with congenital anomalies, predispose neonates to health care–associated infections. Staphylococcus aureus, predominantly methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA), causes many of these infections2 and is associated with potentially devastating consequences, including neurodevelopmental delay and death.3 Vertical transmission of S aureus from mothers during labor and delivery accounts for only a small percentage of neonatal colonization,4 so preventing acquisition after birth and during NICU hospitalization is key to preventing invasive infections with S aureus.