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Microbiome of the NICU Resembles that of Premature Infants

We know that human babies born through vaginal birth are colonized by their mother’s microbes but what about the case of premature infants? A paper published by Jill Banfield and colleagues as part of a Sloan-funded project investigates the connection between microbial communities of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and those of the premature infant gut.

Premature infants are heavily treated with antibiotics and this study found that after the administration of antibiotics, infant guts are colonized by NICU bacterial reservoirs, particularly those found on the feeding and breathing tubes. The study also found a large host of antibiotic-resistance genes in the reconstructed genomes of the gut colonizers.
Premature infant with ventilator

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