Background: Umbilical cord infections contribute to the increased morbidity andÂ mortality in newborns of developing countries, where infants are exposed to unhygienic practices. The best umbilical cord treatment after birth is a controversialÂ issue. There are limited data examining the effect of topical application of humanÂ milk on newbornsâ€™ cord separation and bacterial colonization, which is examinedÂ herein and compared to 70% ethanol.
Methods and Findings: One hundred neonates attending Minia University Hospital were enrolled in a quasi-experimental design (50 neonates in each group).Â Cord separation time was recorded. Microbiological examination including totalÂ viable bacterial count (TVC) and identification of the implicated bacterial speciesÂ was performed at birth, day 3 and at cord separation time. The mean cord separation time in the human milk and alcohol groups were 4.3Â±1.4 (SD) and 8.2Â±2.2,Â respectively (p<0.001). There were significant differences between the two groupsÂ in the TVC (p<0.001). The isolated organisms included Staphylococcus epidermidis,Â Staphylococcus aureus, Â Micrococci, Escherichia coli Â and Klebsiella species, withÂ higher rates of pathogenic species in the ethanol group.
Conclusion: Topical application of human milk reduces cord-separation time andÂ pathogenic bacterial colonization and can be used as easy, cheap and non invasiveÂ methods for umbilical cord care in developing countries.
Ebtsam S Mahrous , Mirret M. Darwish , Soheir A. Dabash , Ibrahim Marie , Sayed F Abdelwahab
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