Hong Kong Med J 2006;12:27-32 | Number 1, February 2006
Neonatal haemorrhagic conjunctivitis: a specific sign of chlamydial infection
K Chang, VYW Cheng, NS Kwong
Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To review the bacteriological causes and clinical features of acute neonatal conjunctivitis in a local paediatric centre.
DESIGN. Retrospective review.
SETTING. Paediatric unit of a regional hospital, Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. All neonates who presented to Tuen Mun Hospital from 1 January 1996 to 31 December 2002 with persistent eye discharge and a positive eye swab culture.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Clinical features of neonates with chlamydial and non-chlamydial conjunctivitis.
RESULT. Of 90 neonates with positive eye swab or conjunctival scraping cultures, Chlamydia trachomatis was the second most common (n=19, 21%) cause of acute neonatal conjunctivitis after Staphylococcus aureus (n=32, 36%). All of the neonates with chlamydial conjunctivitis were delivered vaginally: two of them had concomitant chlamydial pneumonia. Neisseria gonorrhoeae conjunctivitis was rare (n=1, 1%). None of the mothers of neonates with Chlamydia had any history of sexually transmitted disease. The timing of presentation, gestational age, birth weight, and sex of the neonates did not suggest a risk of chlamydial infection. Nonetheless haemorrhagic eye discharge had a specificity of 100% and positive predictive value of 100% for chlamydial infection. There were no adverse ophthalmological consequences or complications of pyloric stenosis in any neonate following treatment with oral erythromycin.
CONCLUSIONS. Haemorrhagic eye discharge is a highly specific sign of neonatal chlamydial conjunctivitis. Early and prompt treatment with oral erythromycin is safe and effective.
Key words: Chlamydia infections; Conjunctivitis, acute hemorrhagic; Conjunctivitis, inclusion; Infant, newborn
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