Campylobacter bacteremia in children

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ObjectiveTo describe clinical and laboratory data for, and to propose pathogenesis and management of, children from impoverished communities with Campylobacter bacteremia.MethodsA retrospective review of patient data generated from laboratory records in an urban tertiary care hospital in Soweto and a rural mission hospital in Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. Participants were 19 children presenting to either hospital with Campylobacter bacteremia. Clinical and laboratory data were collated.ResultsNineteen children with Campylobacter bacteremia were identified; all isolates were Campylobacter jejuni. Sixteen (84%) had malnutrition; 13 of these were severely malnourished. Thirteen (68%) were febrile at the time of bacteremia. Four children (21%) did not have diarrhea. The case fatality rate was 16% and may not have been influenced by aminoglycoside administration.ConclusionMalnourished children may be more likely to have gastrointestinal C. jejuni infection. Immunodeficiency and intestinal mucosal compromise secondary to malnutrition may render such children at increased risk of C. jejuni bacteremia and its consequences. C. jejuni bacteremia is potentially life-threatening and should be managed accordingly.

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