Rapid detection of bacteria in bloodstream infections using a molecular method: a pilot study with a neonatal diagnostic kit

Mol Biol Rep. 2020 Jan;47(1):363-368. doi: 10.1007/s11033-019-05138-2. Epub 2019 Oct 22.


Neonatal sepsis is a life-threatening condition and its early diagnosis is crucial for infant survival. Identifying responsible pathogens is a key step. Blood culture (BC) is the gold standard, but more rapid and specific diagnostic methods are needed. We evaluated the reliability and utility of 3 h turnaround time diagnostic molecular kit, "EuSepScreen lattanti "CE IVD marked, (EuSepScreen lattanti, Eurospital Spa Trieste, Italy) specifically targeted to detect 4 pathogens in neonatal sepsis: Klebsiella pneumoniae (KP), Escherichia coli (EC), Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS), and Lysteria monocytogenes. We evaluated 69 neonates, 40 full term and 29 preterm infants, with suspected bloodstream infection, who, overall the routine clinical procedures, were tested using the molecular kit. Kit results were compared to BC outcomes. Nineteen cases for early onset sepsis (EOS) were evaluated, 2 of them resulted positive to a molecular kit and to BC (both for GBS and EC). In the 50 cases of suspected late onset sepsis (LOS), 7 infants reported positive and coincident results to both the methods, in 3 further cases the molecular kit identified pathogens (EC) in neonates with negative BC result; in 10 cases BC revealed etiological pathogens exceeding the molecular kit possibility of identification. In case of EOS, results of the molecular kit were coincident to these of BC, but available in 3 h turnaround time, which is an advantage, so the kit may actually be an "add-on tool" for EOS, with reference to EC and GBS, but a larger study with a greater number of EOS cases are needed to validate its usefulness in the NICU. Regarding LOS the restricted panel of identifiable microorganisms failed to provide timely information for sepsis diagnosis, highlighting the need of enlarged number microorganisms for the diagnosis of LOS.Trial registration number: NCT03884894.

Keywords: Blood culture; Bloodstream infection diagnosis; Molecular assay; Newborns.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / diagnosis*
  • Bacteremia / genetics
  • Bacteria
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Neonatal Sepsis / diagnosis*
  • Neonatal Sepsis / genetics
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic / microbiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03884894