To study the aetiology of bloodstream infections (BSI) in children 0-17 years, the influence of age and underlying co-morbidity on BSI rate, distribution of pathogens and outcome; and to provide data on antimicrobial susceptibility patterns.
A retrospective population-based study. Data on blood cultures were collected at yearly intervals during 1998-2008. Information about risk factors, focal infection and outcome was retrieved from the patient charts.
We identified 1097 BSI. The incidence of BSI was 0.4/1000. The age-specific incidence was 2.3/1000 in neonates (0-28 days old) and 0.2/1000 in the age group 6-17 years. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen. The number of species causing BSI in previously healthy children was lower compared with children with co-morbidity. Most children requiring intensive care had a serious underlying illness. Antimicrobial resistance was rare and did not influence outcome. The case-fatality rate was 14.4% in neonates, 5.4% in children with co-morbidity and 1.7% in previously healthy children.
Mortality from BSI is low, and a limited spectrum of pathogens is isolated from previously healthy children compared with children with co-morbidity. When choosing empirical therapy for suspected BSI, age and presence of risk factors should be taken into account.