Background There are several studies that show the usefulness of inflammatory markers for distinguishing between viral and bacterial infection at children.
Aim of the study To evaluate the usefulness of leukocytes, C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) as markers for differentiation of bacterial infection versus viral infections in children.
Methods Prospective study which evaluated 1482 patients divided into two groups: 1) group A with 777 patients having viral infections and 2) group B with bacterial infections comprised of 705 patients.
Results Mean values for leucocytes were significantly different (p<0.05) for viral infection 10633±4896/mm3 versus 11475±5562/mm3 for bacterial one.
Mean erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) for viral infection was 17, 5±15.13 mm/hr versus 26, 72±24, 03 mm/hr for bacterial infections (p<0.05). Mean CRP for viral infection was 8, 73±13.34 mg/dl versus 15.46±28.05 mg/dl (p<0.05) for bacterial one. We analyzed the degree in which inflammatory tests may distinguish between the two groups at 24 hours. Mean values for leucocytes was for viral infection 9506±3548/mm3 versus 10794±8637/mm3 (p<0.05) for bacterial one. Mean ESR for viral infection was 12, 97±11, 8 mm/hr versus 28, 44±21 mm/hr for bacterial infections (p<0.05).
Conclusion This study suggests that CRP, ESR and leucocytes are good markers for differentiation between bacterial versus viral infections.