Background: Non-typhi Salmonella (NTS) infections are a frequent cause of self-limited diarrheal illness in healthy children. Bacteremia is a known complication of NTS infection, but the management of children with bacteremia has been based on limited data.
Objective: To study the outcomes of pediatric patients with NTS bacteremia.
Methods: Retrospective review of patients with NTS bacteremia covering a 16-year period at an urban pediatric hospital. Clinical data from the initial visits and any follow-up visits or hospitalizations were abstracted from the medical record.
Results: We studied 144 patients. Median age was 10.5 months. Fifty-four patients were hospitalized at the initial visit including all the patients with immunodeficiency (n = 12). Of the 90 patients initially managed as outpatients, 79 were subsequently admitted; only 1 of these patients developed a focal complication. Persistent bacteremia was found in 51 (41%) patients. Among nonimmunocompromised patients, persistent bacteremia was noted in 34% [95% confidence interval (CI), 20 to 52%] of those initially treated with oral antibiotics, 52% (CI 30 to 74%) of those initially treated with a parenteral dose of antibiotics and in 31% (CI 22 to 43%) of those who were not initially given antibiotics. No laboratory or clinical factors predicted persistent bacteremia. Twelve patients developed focal infections: 3 of 119 previously healthy children (2.5%, CI 0.5 to 7%); and 9 of 25 children with underlying medical conditions (36%, CI 19 to 57%). Focal infections included meningitis (3), osteomyelitis (4), septic arthritis (2), pneumonia (2) and cholangitis (1).
Conclusions: NTS bacteremia occurs in otherwise healthy children, although the risk of focal infections is small. Patients with NTS bacteremia frequently have persistent bacteremia at follow-up regardless of initial antibiotic treatment.