Nefretti Garrison, MD


Fever With Bacteremia in Children:

February 01, 2005

ABSTRACT: Occult bacteremia now occurs in only 1 of 200 children who present with acute fever (temperature of 39°C [102.2°F] or higher) and white blood cell counts of 15,000/µL or more. The most likely cause of bacteremia remains Streptococcus pneumoniae; when there is no evidence of toxicity, such bacteremia is generally a benign, self-limited event. Because of the extremely low yield, blood cultures are no longer routinely warranted in children aged 3 to 36 months who have no obvious source of infection, and empiric treatment of occult bacteremia is no longer appropriate. Almost all cases will spontaneously resolve with a low rate of subsequent focal infection. If a child remains febrile and worsens clinically, further diagnostic evaluation and possible empiric treatment with antibiotics pending results of cultures may be considered.