Background: Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are the most common pathogens of late-onset bacteraemia in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Discriminating true infection from contamination is difficult.
Methods: To evaluate the significance of a single blood culture yielding CoNS from only one blood culture obtained from NICU infants between July 1999 and November 2000, paired blood cultures were obtained simultaneously from two peripheral sites from infants hospitalised in two NICUs with clinically suspected late-onset sepsis, and a single blood culture was obtained peripherally from infants hospitalised in a third NICU. Demographic data, predisposing factors, clinical manifestations, laboratory data, management and outcome of infants with either paired or single blood cultures yielding CoNS were analysed and compared.
Results: Both blood cultures yielded CoNS during 26 episodes in 24 infants. A single blood culture which grew CoNS from one blood culture was identified during 24 episodes in 23 infants. Except for prior use of an umbilical venous catheter, there was no significant difference between the infants with CoNS isolated from a paired or a single blood culture in terms of demographic characteristics, predisposing factors, clinical manifestations, laboratory findings, management and outcome.
Conclusion: There was no difference in the clinical features of CoNS infection between single and paired CoNS-positive blood cultures.