After the FDA bulletin recommending curtailed use of hexachlorophene (HCP), medical epidemiologists performed a retrospective survey of records for recent nursery staphylococcal disease in over 200 randomly selected United States hospitals. A group of nurseries discontinuing prophylactic infant bathing with 0.10 to 3.0% emulsions of HCP was found to have experienced a significant rise in incidence of staphylococcal disease from approximately one case to more than five cases per 1,000 admissions when compared to a group of hospitals continuing infant bathing with HCP. Rates of serious staphylococcal disease also increased approximately five-fold in the group discontinuing HCP bathing, but not in the group continuing it. In a group of hospitals not bathing infants with HCP, the difference between the higher rate of infection noted following the bulletin and the previous rate was not significant. Changes in handwashing policy, in infant bathing procedure per se, or in rates of culturing did not seem to account for the observed increases in disease rate; influences of other specific factors were not evaluated.

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