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Prevalence of bacteraemia in febrile, under-five children in the children’s outpatient clinic of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

UC Onubogu


Background: Bacteraemia is the presence of viable bacteria in the circulating blood. The most common manifestation of bacteraemia is fever. Untreated bacteraemia can progress in 10% of children to focal infection and sepsis which can be fatal. Knowledge of the organisms implicated in causing bacteraemia would help in the right choice of antibiotics while awaiting blood culture results.
Objective: This study determined the prevalence and aetiology of bacteraemia among febrile non neonatal, under–five children seen in the Children’s Clinic of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
Method: Febrile Children, aged 29 days to < 60 months, who presented in the outpatient clinic and whose parents gave consent were recruited from September 2010 to January 2011. Information on their weight, bio-data, and blood culture results were collected and analysed.
Result: A total of 362 children (M:F 1.1:1) were studied. Bacteraemia was found in 32 (8.8%) children. The prevalence rate of bacteraemia was highest in children aged 1-12months (12.1%) and higher in males 13(10.2%) compared to females 19(7.4%). Staphylococcus aureus was the commonest (56.3%) organism isolated.
Conclusion: The prevalence of bacteraemia in febrile postneonatal under-five children in the Children’s Outpatient Clinic of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital was 8.8% with Staphylococcus aureus being the commonest organism implicated. It is recommended that antibiotics active against Staphylococcus aureus should be among the drugs that need to be commenced in this group of children while blood culture result is being awaited.

Key words: Fever, blood culture, bacteremia, under-five children,