The bacteriological findings of a study of intestinal colonisation in 24 neonates with oesophageal atresia are reported. Only five of the patients received antibiotics. When compared with published findings in healthy neonates, the rate of intestinal colonisation in our series was prolonged, with Staphylococcus albus predominating in the first week. Anaerobic colonisation was delayed and bacteroides spp were present in only five patients by the third week. Bifidobacteria were almost completely absent. The onset of intestinal colonisation seemed to be related temporally to enteral feeding. The use of antibiotics in five patients resulted in colonisation by candida in four and clinical thrush in three.
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