South African Medical Journal

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Neonatal and paediatric bloodstream infections: Pathogens, antimicrobial resistance patterns and prescribing practice at Khayelitsha District Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

H Crichton, N O’Connell, H Rabie, A.C. Whitelaw, A Dramowski


Background. The epidemiology of neonatal and paediatric community-acquired and healthcare-associated bloodstream infections (BSI) at South African (SA) district hospitals is under-researched.

Objective. Retrospective review of neonatal and paediatric BSI (0 - 13 years) at Khayelitsha District Hospital, Cape Town, SA, over 3 years (1 March 2012 - 28 February 2015).

Methods. We used laboratory, hospital, patient and prescription data to determine BSI rates, blood culture yield and contamination rates, pathogen profile, antimicrobial resistance, patient demographics, BSI outcome and antibiotic prescribing practice.

Results. From 7 427 blood cultures submitted, the pathogen yield was low (2.1%, 156/7 427) while blood culture contamination rates were high (10.5%, 782/7 427). Paediatric and neonatal BSI rates were 4.5 and 1.4/1 000 patient days, respectively. Gram-positive BSI predominated (59.3%); Staphylococcus aureus (26.8%) and Escherichia coli (21.6%) were common pathogens. The median patient age was 3 months, with a predominance of males (57.7%) and a 12.8% prevalence of HIV infection. Crude BSI-associated mortality was 7.1% (11/156), the death rate being higher in neonates than in infants and children (6/40 (15.0%) v. 5/116 (4.3%), respectively; p=0.03) and in patients with Gramnegative compared with Gram-positive bacteraemia (6/66 (9.1%) v. 5/89 (5.6%), respectively; p=0.5). Most BSI episodes were communityacquired (138/156; 88.5%), with high levels of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) carriage among Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli isolates (5/5 (100%) and 8/33 (24.2%), respectively). Antimicrobial management of BSI was inappropriate in 30.6% of cases (45/147), including incorrect empirical antibiotic (46.7%), dual antibiotic cover (33.3%) and inappropriately broad-spectrum antibiotic use (17.8%).

Conclusions. Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens (notably ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae) were common in community-acquired BSI. Paediatric clinicians at district hospitals require ongoing training in antibiotic stewardship and blood culture sampling.
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