Anaerobic infections in children

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011;697:117-52. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-7185-2_10.


Anaerobic bacteria commonly cause infection in children. Anaerobes are the most predominant components of the normal human skin and mucous membranes bacterial flora and are therefore a common cause of bacterial infections of endogenous origin. Because of their fastidious nature, they are difficult to isolate from infectious sites and are often overlooked. Anaerobic infections can occur in all body sites, including the central nervous system, oral cavity, head and neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, skin, and soft tissues. They colonize the newborn after delivery and have been recovered from several types of neonatal infections. These include cellulitis of the site of fetal monitoring, neonatal aspiration pneumonia, bacteremia, conjunctivitis, omphalitis, and infant botulism. The failure to direct adequate therapy against these organisms may lead to clinical failures. Their isolation requires appropriate methods of collection, transportation, and cultivation of specimens. Treatment of anaerobic infection is complicated by the slow growth of these organisms, by their polymicrobial nature, and by the growing resistance of anaerobic bacteria to antimicrobials. Antimicrobial therapy is often the only form of therapy required, whereas in others it is an important adjunct to a surgical approach. Because anaerobic bacteria generally are recovered mixed with aerobic organisms, the choice of appropriate antimicrobial agents should provide for adequate coverage of both types of pathogen.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / therapy
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Virulence