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To the Editor.—To answer the points raised by Dr. Keidel's letter it is necessary to make a clear distinction between colonization with staphylococci and disease due to staphylococci in nursery infants. The newborn infant's skin is destined to become colonized with microorganisms. If one does nothing to interfere with this natural process, staphylococci will commonly establish residence. Coagulase positive staphylococci will be found on the skin of 40% to 50% of infants at the time of discharge from the hospital and approximately 10% of these are bacteriophage-typable. Hexachlorophene bathing can reduce the frequency of staphylococcal colonization of the skin to a level of about 5%. It is much harder to establish that hexachlorophene bathing decreases the likelihood of disease due to staphylococci. When outbreaks of staphylococcal disease appear in a nursery, it has been common experience that hexachlorophene bathing does not break the epidemic. (It should be noted that
NELSON JD, KAY JL. STAPHYLOCOCCUS 502A-Reply. Am J Dis Child. 1972;123(6):613–614. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1972.02110120137030
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