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First link of oral bacteria and preterm birth found in human

CLEVELAND--A 37-year-old-mother, who gave birth to a low-weight preemie at 24 weeks, exhibited the first-found link in a human between bacteria found in the mouth and the amniotic fluid of a woman in preterm labor.

Using new DNA finger-printing techniques to find bacteria that cannot be cultured and grown in the lab, researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland made the discovery.

They report their finding in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology online article, "Transmission of an Uncultivated Bergeyella Strain from the Oral Cavity to the Amniotic Fluid in a Case of Preterm Birth" in the April issue.

Yiping Han, the lead researcher and a Case microbiologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Case School of Dental Medicine, has spent approximately three years searching for this link.

Assisting in her investigation were Akihiko Ikegami, Nabil Bissada and Raymond Redline from Case and Graham Ashmead and Melissa Herbst from the Department of Obstetrics at Case School of Medicine and MetroHealth Medical Center.

The researchers report that they found the link during a pilot study of 34 women undergoing amniocentesis at MetroHealth.

The women in their second or last trimester had sought testing for genetics, fetal development or suspected infections.

Six of the women delivered before 30 weeks and had a higher risk for possible infections. Only the one mother had an infection.

But Han points out that in this small study it was one in six of the mothers under 30 weeks and in the overall population could mean many more women with infections that bring on early labor or the need to induce labor to protect the baby from an infection during the pregnancy.

Women can contract intrauterine infections vaginally while pregnant. Another pathway of infection has been su
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
5-Apr-2006


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