USPSTF Finalizes Guidance on Prevention of Gonococcal Eye Infection in NewbornsJanuary 31, 2019
The recommendation statement is a reaffirmation of the USPSTF 2011 grade A recommendation statement on the use of prophylactic ocular antibiotic ointment at birth to prevent gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum in newborns. Through the reaffirmation process, the USPSTF found that topical ocular prophylaxis with 0.5% erythromycin ophthalmic ointment can prevent gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum, and is not associated with serious harms. These findings are consistent with the 2011 recommendations.
The number of newborns infected with gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum in the U.S. is 0.4 cases per 100,000 live births per year from 2013 to 2017. The prevalence may be understated, as estimated rates of gonorrhea among pregnant women in the primary care setting are unavailable in the U.S. Untreated gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum may result in corneal scarring, ocular perforation, and blindness. The Task Force, therefore, recommends that all newborns receive prophylactic ocular antibiotic ointment at birth to prevent gonococcal eye infection in newborns.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Final Recommendation Statement: Ocular Prophylaxis for Gonococcal Ophthalmia Neonatorum: Preventive Medication. January 2019. Available at: click here. Accessed January 30, 2019.