Normal ocular flora in newborns delivered in two hospital centers in Argentina and Paraguay

  • Marcus Eder
  • Norma Fariña
  • Rosa R. Sanabria
  • Christopher N. Ta
  • Michael Koss
  • Margarita Samudio
  • Cristina Cuevas
  • Andrés Gines
  • Manuel Simancas
  • Volker Klauß
  • Herminia Miño de Kaspar
Clinical Investigation



To determine the spectrum of normal conjunctival flora in newborns in two hospital centers in North Argentina and Paraguay.


In this prospective observational study, conjunctival specimens were obtained from the right eyes of newborns prior to the application of any topical medications. Culture samples were also obtained from the cervicovaginal secretions of the infants’ mothers. All samples were directly inoculated into culture media and all growth were identified and quantified.


Among the 190 newborns studied, 126 were delivered vaginally and 64 via caesarean section (C-section). A total of 180 different bacterial strains were acquired from the vaginally delivered infants and 77 from the C-section group (P=0.078, Student’s t-test). Conjunctival cultures obtained within one hour of birth showed that 85 out of 101 samples (84%) from both the vaginal and C-section group had positive cultures, compared to 84 out of 89 samples (94%) obtained more than 1 h after birth (P<0.001). Among the vaginally delivered newborns, the most common bacteria isolated were coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (in 69 samples, 38%), Propionibacterium spp (36, 20%) and Corynebacterium spp (29, 16%). In the CES, the most common isolates were coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (39, 51%), Propionibacterium spp (22, 29%) and Staphylococcus aureus (6, 8%). There was a significantly higher proportion of gram-positive rods (P=0.017) isolated from infants delivered vaginally (16%) than from those delivered by C-section (5%). No Neisseria gonorrhoeae were isolated in conjunctival samples. Among the 130 organisms isolated from cervicovaginal secretions in 81 out of 189 mothers, the most common organisms were Lactobacillus spp. (47%), Corynebacterium spp (21%), Gardnerella vaginalis (15%), and Candida spp (14%). No Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis were found in cervicovaginal samples.


The most common conjunctival bacteria in newborns delivered by either vaginal birth or C-section were coagulase-negative Staphylococcus. The proportion of positive conjunctival cultures was higher for infants delivered vaginally than for C-section delivery.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus Eder
    • 1
  • Norma Fariña
    • 2
  • Rosa R. Sanabria
    • 2
  • Christopher N. Ta
    • 3
  • Michael Koss
    • 1
  • Margarita Samudio
    • 2
  • Cristina Cuevas
    • 4
  • Andrés Gines
    • 5
  • Manuel Simancas
    • 6
  • Volker Klauß
    • 1
  • Herminia Miño de Kaspar
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyLudwig-Maximilians UniversityMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, Research Institute of Health ScienceNational University of AsunciónAsunciónParaguay
  3. 3.Department of Ophthalmology, School of MedicineStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Medical Laboratory Díaz GíllAsunciónParaguay
  5. 5.Department of GynecologyMother–Infant Hospital of the Red CrossAsunciónParaguay
  6. 6.Department of GynecologyHospital Cruz Felipe ArnedoClorinda-FormosaArgentina

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