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J Clin Microbiol. 2004 Nov;42(11):5184-8.

Effects of intrapartum penicillin prophylaxis on intestinal bacterial colonization in infants.

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  • 1Microbiologie, UFR des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, 75270 Paris Cedex 06, France.


Early-onset group B streptococcal (GBS) infections remain a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in infants. To prevent the vertical transmission of GBS and neonatal GBS infection, guidelines recommend intrapartum penicillin or amoxicillin prophylaxis. This intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP) is suspected to favor colonization by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, the effects of this prophylaxis on the patterns of acquisition of gastrointestinal bacterial flora in infants have never been studied. We collected stool samples from 3-day-old infants born to mothers who received intrapartum amoxicillin (antibiotic-exposed group; n = 25) and to untreated mothers (non-antibiotic-exposed group; n = 25). The groups were matched for factors known to affect intestinal microbial colonization: gestational age, type of delivery, and type of feeding. Qualitative and quantitative differential analyses of the bacterial flora in stool samples were performed. Similar numbers of infants in the non-antibiotic-exposed and antibiotic-exposed groups were colonized by aerobic bacteria and amoxicillin-resistant enterobacteria (75 and 77%, respectively) (P = 0.79). In contrast, significantly fewer infants in the antibiotic-exposed group than in the non-antibiotic-exposed group were colonized by anaerobic bacteria, especially Clostridium (12 and 40%, respectively) (P < 0.05). Regarding intestinal bacterial colonization, the differences between antibiotic-exposed and non-antibiotic-exposed infants were remarkably few. The only statistically significant effect was the reduced initial bacterial colonization by Clostridium in the antibiotic-exposed group. In our study, the use of IAP did not favor colonization by beta-lactam-resistant bacteria. However, further evaluations are required to highlight the potential risks of the widespread use of antibiotics to prevent early-onset GBS infection.

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