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January 21, 1939

REACTION FROM MERCURY IN THE NEWBORN

JAMA. 1939;112(3):261-262. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800030071024

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  Several months ago I was called to a small community hospital on consultation regarding repeated out-breaks of what was thought to be impetigo contagiosa. Despite constant routine treatment with 3 per cent ammoniated mercury ointment, strict asepsis and expensive sanitary repairing of two nurseries in succession, the eruptions continued to appear. Examination of three infants affected showed erythematous, papulovesicular eruptions in the axillary and crural folds, typical dermatitis due to mercury. There were also periodic attacks of diarrhea.Since that time I have inquired at various hospitals about the occurrence of impetigo and diarrhea. While impetigo was found only sporadically, diarrhea among the newborn was fairly common and in some cases was so severe as to cause considerable concern.At one large hospital there had been several cases of severe diarrhea thought to be infectious. Such cases continued to occur despite changing and repairing of the nurseries.

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