Efforts to control staphylococcal infection in newborn infants by rigidly enforced asepsis in an ideal nursery environment failed. Partial success was obtained using a 3% hexachlorophene detergent emulsion once or six times a day to bathe the diaper area only or as a daily whole body bath during the nursery stay when half of the babies were so treated. The reservoir of staphylococcal infections in the untreated infants resulted in this limited success. The incidence of infection was further reduced when all of the infants in the nursery were bathed with this emulsion or had ½% hexachlorophene applied to the skin daily after a water bath. The maximum reduction in staphylococcal disease in infants was obtained when hexachlorophene-containing preparations were used daily throughout the first 3 weeks of life. Comparable reduction in infection and disease was obtained with daily application of neomycin-bacitracin-polymyxin ointment to the umbilicus-circumcision sites during the hospital stay followed by hexachlorophene bathing at home.

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