USPSTF Recommendation Statement on Prevention of Gonococcal Eye Infections in Newborns

Bottom Line: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reaffirms its recommendation for the use of an antibiotic ointment to prevent gonococcal eye infections in all newborns, a gonorrhea infection that is transmitted from the mother to the newborn during delivery.

Background: The USPSTF routinely makes recommendations about the effectiveness of preventive care services. This latest statement is a reaffirmation of its 2011 recommendation on prevention of gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum, a gonorrhea infection of the eye in newborns. This infection can spread to the cornea and cause blindness as early as 24 hours after birth. In the absence of prevention, transmission rates of gonococcal infection from mother to newborn are 30 percent to 50 percent.

The USPSTF Concludes: