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Eye with yellow discharge.
Acute, purulent, bacterial conjunctivitis causes swelling and redness in the conjunctiva, the membrane lining the whites of the eyes and the inner eyelids. It is often accompanied by a yellow, green, or white discharge, which can dry and become encrusted on the eyelashes. (credit: “Tanalai”/Wikimedia Commons)

Neonatal conjunctivitis

Newborns whose mothers have certain sexually transmitted infections are at risk of contracting ophthalmia neonatorum or inclusion conjunctivitis , which are two forms of neonatal conjunctivitis contracted through exposure to pathogens during passage through the birth canal. Gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae , the bacterium that causes the STD gonorrhea ( [link] ). Inclusion (chlamydial) conjunctivitis is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis , the anaerobic, obligate, intracellular parasite that causes the STD chlamydia .

To prevent gonoccocal ophthalmia neonatorum, silver nitrate ointments were once routinely applied to all infants’ eyes shortly after birth; however, it is now more common to apply antibacterial creams or drops, such as erythromycin . Most hospitals are required by law to provide this preventative treatment to all infants, because conjunctivitis caused by N. gonorrhoeae , C. trachomatis, or other bacteria acquired during a vaginal delivery can have serious complications. If untreated, the infection can spread to the cornea, resulting in ulceration or perforation that can cause vision loss or even permanent blindness. As such, neonatal conjunctivitis is treated aggressively with oral or intravenous antibiotics to stop the spread of the infection. Causative agents of inclusion conjunctivitis may be identified using bacterial cultures, Gram stain, and diagnostic biochemical, antigenic, or nucleic acid profile tests.

Swollen eyes with discharge.
A newborn suffering from gonoccocal opthalmia neonatorum. Left untreated, purulent discharge can scar the cornea, causing loss of vision or permanent blindness. (credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Compare and contrast bacterial conjunctivitis with neonatal conjunctivitis.


Trachoma , or granular conjunctivitis , is a common cause of preventable blindness that is rare in the United States but widespread in developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia. The condition is caused by the same species that causes neonatal inclusion conjunctivitis in infants, Chlamydia trachomatis . C. trachomatis can be transmitted easily through fomites such as contaminated towels, bed linens, and clothing and also by direct contact with infected individuals. C. trachomatis can also be spread by flies that transfer infected mucous containing C. trachomatis from one human to another.

Infection by C. trachomatis causes chronic conjunctivitis , which leads to the formation of necrotic follicles and scarring in the upper eyelid. The scars turn the eyelashes inward (a condition known as trichiasis ) and mechanical abrasion of the cornea leads to blindness ( [link] ). Antibiotics such as azithromycin are effective in treating trachoma, and outcomes are good when the disease is treated promptly. In areas where this disease is common, large public health efforts are focused on reducing transmission by teaching people how to avoid the risks of the infection.

Questions & Answers

full life cycle of plasmodium parasite
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list three categories of symbiotic relationships.
mary Reply
what's the difference between microbial intoxication and infectious diseases
dranimva Reply
microbial intoxication results when a person ingests a toxin or a poisonous substance that has been produced by a microbe while infectious disease results when a pathogen colonize the body and subsequently cause disease.
weighing balance is needed in lab of microbiology for weighing?
amna Reply
It is mainly used for media preparation and product testing purpose.
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what is microbiology
Shamsuddeen Reply
study of living organisms that are too small to be visible with naked eye
microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, either unicellular(single cell), multicellular( cell colony), or acellular (lacking cell).
is the word Atypical or a typical bacteria. .am confused pliz help
typical bacteria
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atypical means that it has some characters from bacteria not all characters ...but tybical means that it has all the characters that bacteria have
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some examples please
thank you Reham
1) typical bacteria contain a cell wall whereas atypical bacteria usually do not contain a cell . 2) typical bacteria can be either Gram-positive or Gram-negative while atypical bacteria remain colorless with Gram staining. 3) cells of typical bacteria are large ,while cells of the atypical small
Example of atypical : Mycoplasma pneumoniae , chlamydophila pneumoniae , legionella
what is micro biology
Jauharah Reply
is the study of organisms which can't be viewed by our necked eyes
Because it preexisting causing secondary infection after collateral damage of normal microbota
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combinations of drugs that can't be taken together and why
Grace Reply
Antagonism: the combined action is less than that of the more effective agent when used alone). All these effects may be observed in vitro (particularly in terms of bactericidal rate) and in vivo والله اعلم
....fermentros have 1-15litre capacity
AMAR Reply
which of the following microorganisms are classified as eukaryotic?
Semugab Reply
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Practice MCQ 4

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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