Non-typhi Salmonella (NTS) infections are a frequent cause of self-limited diarrheal illness in healthy children. Bacteremia is a known complication of NTS infection, but the management of children with bacteremia has been based on limited data.
To study the outcomes of pediatric patients with NTS bacteremia.
Retrospective review of patients with NTS bacteremia covering a 16-year period at an urban pediatric hospital. Clinical data from the initial visits and any follow-up visits or hospitalizations were abstracted from the medical record.
We studied 144 patients. Median age was 10.5 months. Fifty-four patients were hospitalized at the initial visit including all the patients with immunodeficiency (n = 12). Of the 90 patients initially managed as outpatients, 79 were subsequently admitted; only 1 of these patients developed a focal complication. Persistent bacteremia was found in 51 (41%) patients. Among nonimmunocompromised patients, persistent bacteremia was noted in 34% [95% confidence interval (CI), 20 to 52%] of those initially treated with oral antibiotics, 52% (CI 30 to 74%) of those initially treated with a parenteral dose of antibiotics and in 31% (CI 22 to 43%) of those who were not initially given antibiotics. No laboratory or clinical factors predicted persistent bacteremia. Twelve patients developed focal infections: 3 of 119 previously healthy children (2.5%, CI 0.5 to 7%); and 9 of 25 children with underlying medical conditions (36%, CI 19 to 57%). Focal infections included meningitis (3), osteomyelitis (4), septic arthritis (2), pneumonia (2) and cholangitis (1).
NTS bacteremia occurs in otherwise healthy children, although the risk of focal infections is small. Patients with NTS bacteremia frequently have persistent bacteremia at follow-up regardless of initial antibiotic treatment.
From the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Mckeesport, PA (EZ); and the Divisions of Emergency Medicine (RB) and Infectious Disease (MH), Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.
Accepted for publication Aug. 26, 1999.
Reprints not available.