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Incidence and Predictors of Bacterial infection in Febrile Children with Sickle Cell Disease.

Children with sickle cell disease are at increased risk of developing bacteremia and other serious bacterial infections. Fever is a common symptom in sickle cell disease and can also occur with sickle cell crises and viral infections. We aimed to evaluate the incidence and predictors of bacteremia and bacterial infection in children with sickle cell disease presenting with fever to a district hospital and sickle cell center in London. A retrospective analysis was performed on all attendances of children (aged under 16 years) with sickle cell disease presenting with a fever of 38.5 °C or higher over a 1-year period. Confirmed bacterial infection was defined as bacteremia, bacterial meningitis, urinary tract infection (UTI), pneumonia, osteomyelitis or other bacterial infection with positive identification of organism. Children were defined as having a suspected bacterial infection if a bacterial infection was suspected clinically, but no organism was identified. Over a 1-year period there were 88 episodes analyzed in 59 children. Bacteremia occurred in 3.4% of episodes and confirmed bacterial infection in 7.0%. Suspected bacterial infection occurred in 33.0%. One death occurred from Salmonella typhirium septicemia. C-reactive protein (CRP) level and white blood cell (WBC) count were both significantly associated with bacterial infection (p = 0.004 and 0.02, respectively.) In conclusion, bacterial infections continue to be a significant problem in children with sickle cell disease. C-reactive protein was significantly associated with bacterial infections, and could be included in clinical risk criteria for febrile children with sickle cell disease.

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