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Omphalitis Medication

  • Author: Patrick G Gallagher, MD; Chief Editor: Ted Rosenkrantz, MD  more...
Updated: Jan 02, 2016

Medication Summary

A combination of parenterally administered antistaphylococcal penicillin and an aminoglycoside antibiotic is recommended for uncomplicated omphalitis. Some believe that anaerobic coverage also should be considered in all infants with omphalitis. Omphalitis complicated by necrotizing fasciitis or myonecrosis requires a more aggressive approach, and antimicrobial therapy directed at anaerobic organisms, as well as gram-positive and gram-negative organisms, is suggested. Metronidazole may be added to the combination of antistaphylococcal penicillin and aminoglycoside to provide anaerobic coverage, or clindamycin may be substituted for antistaphylococcal penicillin. As with antimicrobial therapy for other infections, consider local antibiotic susceptibility patterns and results of blood and biopsy specimen culturing.

Blood products (eg, packed RBCs, platelets, fresh frozen plasma) and other medications (eg, inotropic agents, sodium bicarbonate) may be required for supportive care.



Class Summary

Empiric antimicrobial therapy must be comprehensive and should cover all likely pathogens in the context of the clinical setting.[46]

Gentamicin (Garamycin)


Aminoglycoside antibiotic for gram-negative coverage. Used in combination both with an agent against gram-positive organisms and with an agent that covers anaerobes.

Oxacillin (Bactocill)


Antistaphylococcal penicillin. Bactericidal antibiotic that inhibits cell wall synthesis. Used in the treatment of infections caused by penicillinase-producing staphylococci. May be used to initiate therapy when staphylococcal infection is suspected.

Clindamycin (Cleocin)


Used to treat infections caused by anaerobic bacteria. Lincosamide for treatment of serious skin and soft tissue staphylococcal infections. Also effective against aerobic and anaerobic streptococci (except enterococci). Inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest.

Metronidazole IV (Flagyl)


Anaerobic antibiotic that also has amebicide and antiprotozoal actions.



Broad-spectrum penicillin. Interferes with bacterial cell wall synthesis during active replication, causing bactericidal activity against susceptible organisms. Bactericidal for organisms, such as GBS, Listeria, non-penicillinase-producing staphylococci, some strains of Haemophilus influenzae, and meningococci.

Vancomycin (Vancocin, Vancoled)


Bacteriocidal agent against most aerobic and anaerobic gram-positive cocci and bacilli. Especially important in the treatment of MRSA. Recommended therapy when coagulase-negative staphylococcal sepsis is suspected.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Patrick G Gallagher, MD Professor, Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology and Genetics, Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital

Patrick G Gallagher, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society for Clinical Investigation, American Society for Clinical Investigation, American Society of Hematology, Connecticut State Medical Society, Society for Pediatric Research, American Society of Human Genetics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Samir S Shah, MD, MSc Director, Division of Hospital Medicine, Attending Physician in Hospital Medicine and Infectious Diseases, James M Ewell Endowed Chair, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Samir S Shah, MD, MSc is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Brian S Carter, MD, FAAP Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Attending Physician, Division of Neonatology, Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics; Faculty, Children's Mercy Bioethics Center

Brian S Carter, MD, FAAP is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Pediatric Society, American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Society for Pediatric Research, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Ted Rosenkrantz, MD Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology, Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Ted Rosenkrantz, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Pediatric Society, Eastern Society for Pediatric Research, American Medical Association, Connecticut State Medical Society, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP Professor, University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St Kitts, West Indies; Clinical Instructor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Vermont College of Medicine; Clinical Instructor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Anatomic relationship between the umbilicus and its embryologic attachments.
A case of omphalitis (left) associated with extensive myonecrosis (right).
A case of omphalitis associated with bullous impetigo due to Staphylococcus aureus.
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