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April 7, 1951


Author Affiliations

Justina H. Hill; Baltimore

Senior Assistant Surgeon, United States Public Health Service (Dr. Davidson).; From the Department of Obstetrics, the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital and the Department of Bacteriology, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University.

JAMA. 1951;145(14):1052-1055. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920320026007

With the demonstration that penicillin is highly gonococcocidal, the question naturally arose as to whether it might not be preferable to silver nitrate as a prophylactic agent against ophthalmia neonatorum. Any study of the advisability of substituting penicillin for silver nitrate should answer several questions. What is the best method of administration of penicillin? Should it be intramuscular or local and, if local, should it be by drops of aqueous solution or by ointment? Are there any hazards with penicillin? Is penicillin as efficacious as silver nitrate and what is the incidence of ophthalmia neonatorum after the administration of penicillin? Is penicillin practical and is it economical? Can penicillin be used in home deliveries and in general practice?

SCOPE OF STUDY  Before our present study, three clinical series, totaling more than 9,000 cases, in which intramuscular penicillin was used as a prophylactic against ophthalmia neonatorum, were observed.

Series 1.—  During