Efficacy of maternal screening and therapy in the prevention of chlamydia infection of the newborn

Julia A. McMillan, L. B. Weiner, H. V. Lamberson, J. H. Hagen, R. H. Aubry, R. W. Abdul-Karim, S. G. Sunderji, Anne P. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Routine cervical cultures for chlamydia were obtained during the third trimester of pregnancy to identify infected mothers whose infants may also be infected. The effectiveness of maternal erythromycin therapy in preventing disease due to chlamydia among infants born to these women was also assessed. Clinical outcome of treated mothers and infants was compared to that of untreated subjects. Of 1082 women who were cultured, 85 (7.8%) were positive for chlamydia. Erythromycin therapy was prescribed for 38 of these women. Nasopharyngeal/conjunctival chlamydia cultures were obtained from 16 infants of culture-positive, treated mothers and 21 infants of culture-positive, untreated mothers. None of the infants born to culture-positive, treated mothers developed infection with chlamydia, while five of 21 infants of untreated mothers (p<0.04) were culture-positive and symptomatic (four with conjunctivitis, one with pneumonia). On follow-up of the infants born to chlamydia-positive mothers, there was no evidence that chlamydia-infected infants had more frequent episodes of upper respiratory infection and otitis media during the first six months of life. This study demonstrated that diagnosis and treatment of cervical chlamydia infection during the third trimester of pregnancy provides a practical approach to the prevention of infection in the newborn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-266
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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