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December 1957

The Significance of Blood Cultures in the Newborn Period

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1957;94(6):601-603. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1957.04030070013002

Septicema during the newborn period often occurs with deceptively benign early clinical manifestations.1 Consequently, the clinician is forced to initiate vigorous antibiotic treatment on suspicion and thus depend upon a single pretreatment culture of the blood for a positive bacteriological diagnosis. It is important, therefore, to examine the validity of information gained from single cultures of the blood in newborn infants. As septicemia during the neonatal period is still a significant pediatric problem, it seemed important to investigate the interpretation of blood cultures at this age.

Clinical Material and Methods  Consecutive normal infants born over a three-month period at Ancker General Hospital, St. Paul, were studied. The infants had no physical abnormalities, no evidence of skin lesions or infection, and no temperature elevation. "Dry" skin care was practiced during this period of time. All blood for the cultures was drawn by one of us.Skin over the neck was

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