Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in children: a 5-year retrospective review

J Paediatr Child Health. 2002 Jun;38(3):290-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1754.2002.00787.x.


Objective: The clinical presentation of Staphyloccocus aureus bacteraemia has been well described in adults, but there is a paucity of published data on the presentation of S. aureus bacteraemia in children. This review sought to compare the presentation of S. aureus in children with that of adults.

Methods: We conducted a 5-year retrospective chart review of S. aureus bacteraemia at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children between 1994 and 1998.

Results: Of the 140 episodes of S. aureus bacteraemia, 53% were community acquired and 47% nosocomially acquired. The clinical presentation of S. aureus bacteraemia in the children in the present study differed significantly from published studies of adult patients. Of children with community-acquired bacteraemia without pre-existing medical conditions, 59% had a bone or joint infection, which is higher than adult series. Endocarditis has been associated with up to 30% of community-acquired bacteraemia in adults but was much less frequent (1.4%) in the present study. Despite the infrequent use of empiric antibiotic therapy (34% of episodes), the case fatality rate (1.4%) was significantly lower than the published literature relating to adults (11-32%).

Conclusion: The present study highlights the differences between S. aureus bacteraemia in adults and children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Bacteremia / diagnosis
  • Bacteremia / drug therapy
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community-Acquired Infections / diagnosis
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / diagnosis
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Methicillin Resistance
  • Probability
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Survival Rate


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents