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The use of human milk in the treatment of ocular surface disease is documented in ancient Egyptian, Indian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine texts.1 Galen recommended human milk specifically for conjunctivitis.1 Ocular application of human milk continues today in the developing world, and is recommended in widely distributed parenting guidebooks. Despite these endorsements, the antibacterial activity of topically applied breast milk has not been adequately studied. In this report, we assess the inhibitory effects of human breast milk against common ocular pathogens.
Mothers attending routine outpatient paediatric visits at the University of California, San Francisco, donated milk samples for this study. Subjects with known immunodeficiency, systemic infection or antibiotic use within 2 weeks were excluded. Milk samples were stored at 4°C; the samples were tested within 6 h of collection, or frozen for later testing.
We tested several reference strains of bacteria from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC): …
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