Vertical transmission of ureaplasma urealyticum from mothers to preterm infants

P. J. Sanchez, J. A. Regan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Ureaplasma urealyticum is a common component of the vaginal flora during pregnancy. Although colonization of low birth weight infants with U. urealyticum occurs frequently, the actual rate of vertical transmission of U. urealyticum in preterm infants has not been determined. Sixty-five preterm infants (<37 weeks of gestation) born to mothers colonized with U. urealyticum had eye, throat, vagina and rectum cultured for U. urealyticum at 1, 3 and 7 days of age and weekly thereafter for the first month of life while the infants remained in the hospital. Thirty-eight infants (58%) had at least one culture site positive for U. urealyticum (eye, 8%; throat, 37%; vagina, 54%; and rectum, 18%). Vertical transmission was not affected by method of delivery or duration of rupture of amniotic membranes. The rate of vertical transmission of U. urealyticum was higher among infants with birth weight less than 1000 g (89%) than among those with birth weight of 1000 g or greater (54%) (P = 0.07). Chronic lung disease developed in 9 of the 65 (14%) infants; 8 were colonized with U. urealyticum. The high rate of ureaplasmal colonization and chronic lung disease in infants less than 1000 g makes these infants a suitable target population for a clinical treatment trial to determine whether eradication of U. urealyticum would decrease the incidence of chronic lung disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-401
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990


  • Newborn colonization
  • Preterm infants
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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