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Bacteraemia due to Staphylococcus aureus
  1. S Ladhani,
  2. O S Konana,
  3. S Mwarumba,
  4. M C English
  1. Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Coast, KEMRI, and Wellcome Trust Laboratories, Kenya
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S Ladhani
    PO Box 230, Kilifi, Kenya;


Aims: To describe the clinical features and outcome of bacteraemia due to Staphylococcus aureus in children admitted to a rural Kenyan hospital.

Methods: Retrospective case review of all children with a positive blood culture for S aureus admitted to Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya, between January 1996 and December 2001.

Results: Ninety seven children (median age 17 months, range 1 day to 12 years; 46 male) with bacteraemia due to S aureus were identified, accounting for 5% of all positive blood cultures; 10 were considered to be nosocomially acquired. A focus that was clinically consistent with staphylococcal infection was identified in 52 cases; of these, 88% had multiple foci. Children with a focus were likely to be older, present later, and have a longer duration of hospital stay. Most children in this group (90%) received intravenous cloxacillin on admission in contrast to none of those without a focus. In the former group, mortality was only 6% compared to 47% among those without a focus; 10/13 neonates without an apparent staphylococcal focus died compared to none of the 11 with a focus. Eight of the 10 neonates in the former group died within 48 hours of admission, before empirical antibiotics could be changed to include cloxacillin.

Conclusions: Children most at risk of death associated with bacteraemia due to S aureus are least likely to have clinical features traditionally associated with this infection.

  • focus of infection
  • neonate
  • outcome
  • treatment

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