HIV infection is common in mothers and their children in Zimbabwe, and HIV-infected children are particularly susceptible to bacterial infections. There is little information on the etiology and outcome of HIV-related bacteremia in African children.Methods
Blood cultures from 309 hospitalized children in Zimbabwe, of whom 168 were diagnosed as having HIV, were examined for pathogens. The association among significant bacteremia, HIV infection and mortality was assessed in these children.Results
The most common isolates were coagulase-negative staphylococci (31 children, 25 clinically significant), Staphylococcus aureus (22 children) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (20 children). Nontyphoidal Salmonella (10 children), Escherichia coli (4 children) and Klebsiella sp. (4 children) were the most frequent Gram-negative bacteria. Two children had Rhodococcus equi pneumonia. HIV-infected children showed increased risk of bacteremia (odds ratio (OR) = 2.68), especially if younger than 18 months of age (OR = 2.94), and high risk of enterobacteremia (OR = 15.76). There was no significant association of bacteremia with nutritional status. Mortality was 17% overall but was higher in HIV-infected children up to 6 months of age (OR = 2.81) and in bacteremic children of any age (OR = 2.03).Conclusions
Prompt recognition of pathogens and early administration of appropriate antimicrobials is important in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with bacteremia in HIV-infected children in Africa.