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October 1962

Infection Due to Proteus Mirabilis in Newborn Nursery

Author Affiliations

Arnold H. Becker, M.D., 300 Main St., Bristol, Conn.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;104(4):355-359. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080030357006

The Gram-negative "water bug" has become a new threat to the hospital newborn. In an atmosphere that abounds with moisture and organic materials these organisms can proliferate abundantly and then with sly ubiquity defy detection as they inoculate the susceptible infants.

Rubenstein and Fowler1 in 1955 incriminated hospital equipment as a fomite in a nursery infection due to the Gram-negative bacilli, and since then others have contributed to the background of experience in this area with indictment of humidifying apparatus,2 faucet aerators,3 incubators,4 and even the bedside carafe.5 In March, 1961, the editorial in the American Journal of Diseases of Children6 reviewed the problem, and in the same issue additional cases due to Achromobacter and Flavobacteria were presented.7

Our experiences with an outbreak of infection due to Proteus mirabilis (an organism not previously involved) adds further emphasis to the growing significance of such