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Cord Blood Infections Common in Very Preterm Births

Strong association with acute placental inflammation

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In babies born between 23 and 32 weeks' gestation, umbilical cord blood infections with Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis bacteria are common, and are associated with placental inflammation and adverse newborn outcomes, according to a report published in the January issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Robert L. Goldenberg, M.D., of Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues studied 351 mother/infants dyads with positive cord blood cultures for U. urealyticum and M. hominis after very preterm birth. They analyzed infant outcomes, determined interleukin-6 levels and performed placental cultures.

The investigators found that the two organisms were present in 23 percent of cord blood samples, with a greater preponderance among non-white mothers, mothers younger than 20 years of age and those with the earliest deliveries. Whereas only 3.2 percent of elective preterm deliveries tested positive for the organisms, they were detected in 34.7 percent of spontaneous deliveries. Babies whose cord blood tested positive for U. urealyticum and M. hominis were more likely to have neonatal systemic inflammatory response syndrome and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

"Given the frequency of these infections and their association with systemic inflammatory response syndrome and likely with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, it seems reasonable to determine whether infants in these categories would benefit from routine culture for U. urealyticum and/or M. hominis and subsequent treatment with an antibiotic," the authors conclude.

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