In a case control study of 426 unselected deliveries at the De Soysa Hospital for Women, 85 (20%) infants had conjunctivitis. Chlamydia species (spp) and viruses were not detected. Staphylococcus aureus was the commonest pathogen isolated and was detected in 47% of cases. Klebsiella spp was isolated from 27%. Pseudomonas spp, Streptococcus viridana and coliform isolation rates were not significantly different to that of controls, although significantly higher counts of bacteria were found in the cases. Therefore it would be more useful to the clinician if the laboratory report indicated the severity of infection.
Only 51% of the isolates were sensitive to the conventionally used antibiotic, chloramphenicol. Treatment with saline washes appear to be sufficient in the first few days of the illness as there is spontaneous resolution of clinical appearance within 48-72 hr in a majority of patients.