Dominguez-Bello is an associate professor with the Human Microbiome Program at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.
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New York University
Babies born via C-section, which accounts for more than 50% of total births in some countries, are not immediately exposed to these microbes and have a different microbiota at birth from those born vaginally. Maria Dominguez-Bello, Jose Clemente and colleagues report a procedure, termed vaginal microbial transfer, in which four infants were swabbed immediately after a C-section birth with gauze that had been incubated in the infant’s mother’s vagina for one hour prior to the C-section procedure. They then compared the babies’ microbiota to that of seven C-section-born infants not exposed to vaginal fluids and of seven infants born vaginally. They found that, 30 days after birth, C-section-born infants exposed to vaginal fluids had a microbiota that was more similar to that of vaginally born infants than to C-section-born infants not exposed to vaginal fluids. However, the authors also found that the vaginal microbial transfer was not complete and that the procedure did not transfer all of the microbes present in vaginally born infants.
Contact lenses may alter the natural microbial community of the eyes and increase the risk of infections, a new study has warned. Researchers studied 58 adults seeking outpatient eye care and found that contact lenses make the eye microbiome more skin-like, with high proportions of skin bacteria. “It is unclear how these changes occur, if these bacteria are transferred from the fingers to the lens and to the eye surface, or if the lenses exert selective pressures on the eye bacterial community in favour of skin bacteria,” said Maria Dominguez-Bello from New York University. “Wearing contact lenses has been identified as a risk factor for the development of eye infections such as giant papillary conjunctivitis and keratitis, so these questions are important,” she said.