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August 30, 1965


JAMA. 1965;193(9):735. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090090041013

Some longstanding concepts of infant care are challenged in this issue of The Journal (p 699). Traditionally, infection in the newborn has been prevented by barriers erected between the infant and his environment. For example, linens are autoclaved, bassinets are washed, formulas are sterilized, hands are assiduously scrubbed, gowns are worn, visitors are limited. In some cases even the air is filtered and designed to flow away from the infant and his micro-universe. In other instances, antiseptic barriers are erected between the infant and his potential flora. If, for example, organisms with a propensity to produce disease have been acquired by several infants in a nursery in epidemic fashion, antimicrobial drugs will sometimes be administered as prophylaxis. The hazards of this procedure, which may postpone acquisition of a portion of the infant's normal bacterial flora, are well known. A nursery ritual enjoying current vogue is the hexachlorophene inunction. Properly carried