Optimizing Accessibility of a Hand-wash Gel to Infant’s Cradle Effect on Neonatal Conjunctivitis

Tatiana Smolkin, Ella Roth-Ahronson, Michal Kranzler, Yuval Geffen, Tanya Mashiach, Amir Kugelman, Imad R. Makhoul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: In our recent study in 2015, we showed a significant relationship between increased rate of clinical neonatal conjunctivitis (CNC) and performance of eye red reflex examination. Our study aim was to assess whether improved accessibility of staff to disinfectant gel (via attaching the gel bottle to infant’s cradle) will increase the caring staff compliance with hand hygiene and decrease the rate of CNC. Methods: Our intervention included attaching bottles of alcohol-based gel to newborns’ cradles to ensure full availability and accessibility of hand-wash disinfectant. We included all newborn infants who were born beyond 35 weeks’ gestation and stayed in the well-baby nursery. We compared 2 periods: pre-intervention period (n = 9380) versus an intervention period (n = 8087). Three variables were recorded: (1) rate of CNC: number of conjunctival swabs sampled per 1000 newborns whenever an eye discharge was noted, (2) rate of bacterial conjunctivitis: number of positive swabs per 1000 newborns and (3) percentage of positive swabs out of all sampled swabs. Results: Compared with pre-intervention period, the rate of CNC dropped significantly during the intervention period: 28.6/1000 versus 21.3/1000, respectively, P < 0.01. However, the number of positive bacterial swabs per 1000 newborns (3.2 vs. 2.5) and the percentage of positive bacterial swabs of all sent samples (11.6% vs. 10.8%) were not different between the 2 periods. The majority of pathogens in swabs were Gram-negative sp. without difference between study periods (77.4% vs. 80%), respectively. Univariate analysis showed significant association between rate of CNC and longer length of stay >5 days (P < 0.001) and vaginal delivery. Logistic stepwise regression analysis showed that 4 variables were significantly and independently associated with higher rate of clinical conjunctivitis. These include birth during pre-intervention period [P = 0.018, odds ratio (OR) = 1.27, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04–1.54], length of stay 4–5 days (P < 0.001, OR = 2.23, CI: 1.63–3.06), length of stay >7 days (P < 0.001, OR = 6.51, CI: 4.24–10.02), vaginal delivery (P = 0.004, OR = 1.6, CI: 1.17–2.2) and male gender (P = 0.006, OR = 1.31, CI: 1.08–1.59). Conclusions: Accessibility of a disinfectant gel within each newborn’s cradle raised hygiene awareness among the caring staff and contributed to the reduction of CNC rate in the newborn nursery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E7-E11
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Conjunctivitis
  • Disinfectant gel
  • Hygiene
  • Newborn infant
  • Red reflex eye examination


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