Routine daily bathing of newborn infants with hexachlorophene, if meticulously performed, can alter the frequency of colonization and endemic disease caused by Staphylococcus aureus. However, the recent decrease in the occurrence of epidemics of severe disease caused by Staphylococcus aureus 80/81 in newborn infants is related to a decrease in colonization of infants with this epidemic strain unrelated to the use of hexachlorophene bathing. In fact, in the presence of epidemic strains of staphylococci, hexachlorophene bathing has repeatedly been unsuccessful in either preventing or controlling disease. In addition, antistaphylococcal topical agents including hexachlorophene have a profound effect on the total bacterial flora permitting an increase in colonization with gram-negative bacilli. Routine daily hexachlorophene bathing of newborn infants results in an increase in both colonization and disease caused by gram-negative organisms. In view of the effects of hexachlorophene on the total well-being of the newborn infant, routine daily bathing with hexachlorophene should be used with caution.

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