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J Perinatol. 1997 Mar-Apr;17(2):130-4.

Use of human milk in the intensive care nursery decreases the incidence of nosocomial sepsis.

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Newborn Service, George Washington University Hospital, Washington, DC 20037, USA.



This study compares stool colonization and incidence of sepsis in human milk-fed (HM) and formula-fed (FF) intensive care nursery (ICN) patients.


Infants recruited prospectively were fed HM based on the decision of their mothers (59 HM and 114 FF). The incidence of sepsis was determined during the following three intervals: period 1, first 10 days of life; period 2, 11 to 24 days; and period 3, 25 to 38 days.


Frequency of Escherichia coli and Enterococcus sp. colonization was increased in HM infants. The incidence of sepsis was 9.5% in period 1 (5% in HM vs 10% in FF), 17.2% in period 2 (9% in HM vs 20% in FF), and 12.5% in period 3 (0% in HM vs 15% in FF). The odds ratio for sepsis in HM infants was 0.4, the 95% limits 0.15 to 0.95, p = 0.04.


HM feeding in the ICN has a protective effect against nosocomial sepsis, which is unrelated to its influence on gastrointestinal (GI) flora.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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