Occult bacteremia in children with simple febrile seizures

Am J Dis Child. 1988 Oct;142(10):1073-6. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150100067028.


The controversy surrounding the diagnostic workup for simple febrile seizures has centered around the lumbar puncture. This focus has obscured the potential importance of other tests. A retrospective study was performed to determine the frequency of occult bacteremia in simple febrile seizures. In a pediatric emergency department, we identified 115 cases of simple febrile seizures in children treated as outpatients. Blood cultures were performed in 93 (81%) of 115 patients; five (5.4%) were positive. Children were less likely to have blood cultures performed if they were older than 24 months or had a medical history of simple febrile seizures. However, neither age nor history of febrile seizures affected the risk of bacteremia. These data suggest that patients with simple febrile seizures are at approximately the same risk for bacteremia as children with fever alone. Patients with simple febrile seizures should be treated in the same manner as other patients of the same age with regard to the performance of blood cultures.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Pneumococcal Infections / blood
  • Pneumococcal Infections / complications
  • Pneumococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures, Febrile / etiology*
  • Seizures, Febrile / microbiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sepsis / blood
  • Sepsis / complications*
  • Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / isolation & purification