By G.J. Ebrahim
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Extra resources for Care of the Newborn in Developing Countries
The infected mother transmits the illness to the foetus through the placenta, and rarely through an abrasion of the skin or mucous membrane. About a quarter of the infected foetuses are aborted. Those who are born alive show various manifestations of the illness. The organs most commonly involved are the liver, skin and mucous membrane, bones and the central nervous system. The earliest symptom is 'snuffles' a term applied to a blocked nose due to secretions which are at first clear, later turning to sero-sanguineous and finally purulent.
Animal studies have indicated that there is a critical period of mother·baby contact for establishing close emotional relationships and any delay beyond such a critical period can lead to rejection or even ag· gression. In the sick or the high-risk infant, prolonged observation in the nursery or special care unit may be unavoidable. In such cases opportunities should be created for frequent contacts between the mother and her baby and also for the mother to participate in the nursing and care of her baby.
In the newborn, prompt treatment of any disease process is important because deterioration can be very rapid and therefore alertness in noting any deviation from normal is necessary. A close watch should be kept for the appearance of the danger signals mentioned in the previous chapter; when they appear and are being investigated or treated, any increase in the intensity or the appearance of additional symptoms should be noted. Failure to cry at birth is a common emergency and needs prompt resuscitative measures.