An antibiotic ointment is recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to prevent gonococcal eye infections in all newly-born babies. A gonococcal infection gets transmitted from mothers to newborns 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.