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The nosocomial spread of enteric pathogens is often difficult to control in overerowded pediatric wards. During 1983 and 1984, despite cohorting of patients and enforced hand washing, more than 200 cases of nosocomial multiply resistant Salmonella typhimurium phage type R-9 were observed on two adjacent pediatric wards. Most cases occurred during the summer months. After 19 new cases were detected early in the summer of 1985, oral administration of furazolidone throughout their entire hospital stay (2.5 mg/kg twice daily) was recommended for all subsequently hospitalized infants. Among the 114 (65%) infants who were appropriately treated, only one additional case (1%) was deteeted. In contrast 11 (19%) cases occurred among the 59 infants who were inappropriately treated: 5 of 35 (14%) of those who were not treated and 6 of 24 (25%) in whom treatment with furazolidone was delayed >24 hours (P < 0.001 between the appropriately and inappropriately treated groups). In pediatric wards where infection control measures cannot be optimally applied, prophylactic furazolidone administration may be helpful in preventing the spread of enteric pathogens.