A massive outbreak of the staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome due to an organism with an unusual phage pattern, occurred during a 115-day period and involved 68 newborns. Generalized exfoliative dermatitis was seen in 24 babies, and Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 23. Fourteen isolates were phage typed, with 13 reported as the epidemic strain 29/79/80/3A/3C/54/75. Eight babies had generalized scarlatiniform eruption without exfoliation (staphylococcal scarlet fever). Cultural data were available from six, all positive for S aureus. Four organisms were typed and reported as the epidemic strain. Of 34 infants with bullous impetigo 20 had cultures that were positive for S aureus, and four were phage typed, revealing the epidemic strain. Illness was mild in all patients; there were no deaths and no invasive forms of staphylococcal infection. The male to female ratio of generalized exfoliative disease was 5:1. The concept of a neonatal staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, comprised of a triad of skin disorders induced by an exotoxin elaborated by certain strains of coagulase positive S aureus, is confirmed.

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