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February 1964

Prolonged Rupture of Fetal Membranes: Effect on the Newborn Infant

Author Affiliations

Miriam G. Wilson, MD, School of Medicine, University of California Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif 90024.; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of California Medical School (Dr. Wilson); Clinical Attending Staff in Obstetrics, Harbor General Hospital, Torrance (Dr. Armstrong); Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics, University of Southern California Medical School (Dr. Nelson); Professor of Infectious Diseases and Pediatrics, University of California Medical School (Dr. Boak).; Departments of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Infectious Diseases, University of California at Los Angeles.

Am J Dis Child. 1964;107(2):138-146. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02080060140005

Neonatal infections of are often difficult to diagnose. The most frequent major infection acquired by the infant in utero is pneumonia,1-5 which may be unsuspected until postmortem examination.6 The response to infection in the newborn infant, particularly when prematurely born, may be minimal, unpredictable, or nonspecific. For this reason, antibacterial treatment of newborn infants has been extensive and relatively indiscriminate in the past. Subsequently, antibiotic-resistant bacteria have developed, and harmful effects in newborn infants resulting from drugs such as sulfonamides and chloramphenicol have been recognized. Physicians now tend to limit medications to specific indications, and not treat newborn infants prophylactically. Under these circumstances, it is particularly important to diagnose neonatal infections early and to select high-risk infants for special observation.

Although the fetus becomes infected in a relatively small proportion of all instances of maternal amnionitis, it is generally accepted that an important pathway for fetal infection is

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