Background: Fever as a common presenting complaint in pediatric patients can be due to various causes. Differentiating bacterial infection from other causes is important because the prompt use of antibiotics is critical in bacterial infection. Traditional markers of infection such as BT and WBC count may be unspecific and culture may be late or absent. CRP and Procalcitonin (PCT) have been considered to evaluate the evolution of infections and sepsis in patients presenting with SIRS. Neopterin has also been proposed to aid in the diagnosis of bacterial infection. In this study, we compared the value of the serum PCT, neopterin level, and WBC count for predicting bacterial infection and outcome in children with fever.
Methods: 158 pediatric (2-120-month-old) patients suspected to have acute bacterial infection, based on clinical judgment in which other causes of SIRS were ruled out were included in the study. WBC count with differential was determined and PCT and neopterin levels were measured.
Results: PCT level was higher in bacterial infection and patients who were complicated or expired.
Conclusion: Rapid PCT test is superior to neopterin and WBC count for anticipating bacterial infection, especially in ED where prompt decision making is critical.