Ophthalmia Neonatorum

Reporting Obligations

Individuals with suspect or confirmed cases must be reported to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit by the next working day by fax, phone or mail.

  • Fax: (807) 625-4822
  • Phone: 625-8318 or toll-free at 1-888-294—6630, ext. 8318
  • Mail: 999 Balmoral Street, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6E7

 

Epidemiology

Aetiologic Agent:

Eye infection of newborn infant acquired during birth and caused by a maternal infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoea), and/or Chlamydia trachomatis (C. trachomatis).

Clinical Presentation:

Acute, inflammatory condition of the eye, occurring within 3 weeks of life. Signs and symptoms include purulent conjunctivitis, and swollen red eyelids.

Modes of transmission:

Contact with the infected birth canal during childbirth.

Incubation Period:

Usually 1-5 days for gonococcal infection; 5-12 days for chlamydial infection.

Period of Communicability:

While discharge persists, if untreated; no longer communicable after 24 hours of treatment.

 

Risk Factors/Susceptibility

  • Contact with the infected birth canal during childbirth
  • Contact with the infected maternal genital tract

 

Diagnosis & Laboratory Testing

The most common infectious cause is C. trachomatis, which produces inclusion conjunctivitis that usually appears 5-14 days after birth.

Confirmed Case:

• Laboratory confirmation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis in conjunctival specimens from an infant (most commonly occurs in infants less than or equal to 28 days in age)

Probable Case:

• Laboratory confirmation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis in maternal specimen AND/OR

• Clinically compatible signs and symptoms in an infant (most commonly occurs in infants less than or equal to 28 days in age)

Clinical Evidence:

• Acute redness and swelling of conjunctiva in one or both eyes, with mucropurulent or purulent discharge in which gonococci are identifiable by microscopic and culture methods. Corneal ulcer, perforation and blindness may occur if specific treatment is not given promptly.

Testing Information & Requisition

 

Treatment & Case Management

Treatment is under the direction of the attending health care provider. Mother and infant should both be treated for the appropriate infection. Contact isolation should be employed for the first 24 hours after treatment begins.

Refer to "Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections".

 

Patient Information

Patient Fact Sheet

References

  1. Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2016. Appendix A (2009) and Appendix B (2009)
  2. Heymann, D.L., Control of Communicable Disease Manual (20th Ed.), Washington, American Public Health Association, 2015.

 

Additional Resources

1. Public Health Agency of Canada. "Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections"

2. Health Canada. "Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)."

Last Updated: 26/10/2017