Clinicoepidemiological findings of childhood brucellosis in a tertiary care center in Central Anatolia: with the emphasis of hematological findings

Turk J Pediatr. 2022;64(1):10-18. doi: 10.24953/turkjped.2020.3075.


Background: Human brucellosis is one of the most widespread zoonotic diseases that are presented with predominantly hematological manifestations. We aimed to evaluate the hematological findings of childhood brucellosis and to determine the predictive clinical findings and laboratory tests that might be related to hematologic involvement.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of children with brucellosis between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2018. We compared predictive clinical and physical examination findings and laboratory tests in patients with and without hematological involvement.

Results: A total of 212 patients (127 boys (59.9%)) with a mean age of 9.4±4.7 years were evaluated in this study. Blood cultures were performed in 161 (75.9%) patients and Brucella spp were isolated in 70 (43.4%) of them. Ninety-two (43.4%) patients had hematological involvement at least in one series. Anemia was detected in 66 (31.7%) patients, leukopenia in 22 (10.6%) and thrombocytopenia in 10 (4.8%). Four patients (1.9%) had pancytopenia. Age distrubutions of the patients with and without hematological involvement were similar (p=0.6). In patients presented with fever, hepatomegaly and splenomegaly, hematologic involvement was significantly higher (p < 0.05). Hematological involvement was higher in patients who had elevated aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase concentrations (p < 0.05). Hematological involvement was higher in patients with positive blood culture (p=0.005). Six patients (2.8%) were treated with intravenous immunoglobulin at 1000 mg/kg/day for two days in addition to anti-brucellosis treatment.

Conclusions: Hematological involvement in brucellosis is a common finding regardless of age, especially in febrile, bacteremic patients and in patients who had hepatosplenomegaly and elevated liver enzymes. Anemia is the most common hematological abnormality.

Keywords: brucellosis; children; cytopenia; hematological findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia* / epidemiology
  • Anemia* / etiology
  • Brucellosis* / complications
  • Brucellosis* / diagnosis
  • Brucellosis* / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fever
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Humans
  • Leukopenia* / diagnosis
  • Leukopenia* / epidemiology
  • Leukopenia* / etiology
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Splenomegaly
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Thrombocytopenia* / diagnosis
  • Turkey / epidemiology