Bacteremia in sickle hemoglobinopathies

J Pediatr. 1986 Oct;109(4):579-85. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(86)80216-5.


We analyzed 178 episodes of bacteremia that occurred during 13,771 patient-years of follow-up of 3451 patients with sickle hemoglobinopathies. Age-specific incidence rates of bacteremia were calculated for patients with sickle cell anemia (SS) and sickle cell-hemoglobin C (SC) disease. The incidence rate was highest among children with SS and SC younger than age 2 years. Children with SC showed an abrupt decrease after age 2 years, whereas children with SS had a gradual decline in rate from 2 to 6 years of age. The predominant pathogen in patients younger than 6 years was Streptococcus pneumoniae (66%); gram-negative organisms were responsible for 50% of bacteremias in patients 6 years and older. Urinary tract infection was present during 73% of Escherichia coli bacteremias, and 77% of Salmonella bacteremias were associated with osteomyelitis. In contrast, no focus of infection was present in 52% of pneumococcal bacteremias. The incidence of pneumococcal bacteremia in children with SS younger than age 3 years was 6.1 events/100 patient-years; the case fatality rate for pneumococcal sepsis in this age group was 24%. No hematologic or demographic variables were associated with occurrence of pneumococcal bacteremia in young children. Retrospective analysis of pneumococcal bacteremia suggests that the prophylactic use of penicillin may decrease the incidence in children younger than 3 years of age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications*
  • Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Haemophilus influenzae / isolation & purification
  • Hemoglobin SC Disease / complications*
  • Humans
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Urinary Tract Infections / complications


  • Penicillins