Methods: A retrospective, observational study of all infant eye samples submitted to the Chlamydia Research Laboratory at SUNY Downstate Medical Center for CT culture from 1986-2002. Culture results were divided into 2 groups by time-period: pre-screening (1986-1993) and post-screening (1994-2002).
Results: 880 samples obtained from infants with signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis were submitted for CT culture, 103 (11.7%) were positive. The number of submitted samples and positive cultures both declined over time. The positivity rate for eye cultures was 15.6% during the pre-screening period (1986-1993) and was 1.8% during post-screening period (1994-2002) (p<.0001). A separate hospital audit confirmed >95% of pregnant women were screened during the post-screening period.
Conclusion: The prevalence of neonatal chlamydial conjunctivitis decreased significantly in our population after the implementation of routine screening and treatment of pregnant women in the USA in 1993.These results also confirm that the most effective way to prevent perinatal chlamydial infection is prenatal screening and treatment of pregnant women. These data have important implications for maternal and infant health globally.
M. Hammerschlag, None
S. Kohlhoff, None