Predictors of serious bacterial infections using serum biomarkers in an infant population aged 0 to 90 days: a prospective cohort study.

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Young febrile infants represent a vulnerable population at risk for serious bacterial infections (SBI). We aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of components of the complete blood count in comparison with C-reactive protein (CRP) to predict SBI among febrile infants.Prospective cohort study conducted in a tertiary emergency department between December 2018 and November 2019.We included febrile infants ≤3 months old with complete blood count results. We analysed their white blood cell count (WBC), absolute neutrophil ratio (ANC), neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), platelet to lymphocyte ratio, mean platelet volume to platelet count ratio, and compared these to the performance of CRP.SBIs were defined as urinary tract infection, bacteraemia, bacterial meningitis, sepsis, pneumonia, skin and soft tissue infection, bacterial enteritis, septic arthritis or osteomyelitis.Of the 187 infants analysed, 54 (28.9%) were diagnosed with SBI. Median values of WBC, ANC, NLR and CRP were significantly higher in infants with SBI: WBC (13.8 vs 11.4×109/L, p=0.004), ANC (6.7 vs 4.1×109/L, p<0.001), NLR (1.3 vs 0.9, p=0.001) and CRP (21.0 vs 2.3 mg/L, p<0.001), compared with those without. CRP had the best discriminatory values for SBI, with area under the curve (AUC) of 0.815 (95% CI 0.747 to 0.883), compared with WBC, ANC and NLR. A predictive model consisting of WBC, ANC and NLR in combination with clinical parameters, had an AUC of 0.814 (95% CI 0.746 to 0.883). There was increased discriminative performance when this predictive model was combined with CRP, (AUC of 0.844, 95% CI 0.782 to 0.906).In young febrile infants, CRP was the best discriminatory biomarker for SBI. WBC, ANC and NLR when used in combination have potential diagnostic utility in this population.

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Authors: Serena Su Ying Chang, Amanda Zhirui Lim, Gene Yong-Kwang Ong, Rupini Piragasam, John Carson Allen, Kee Chong Ng, Ian Maconochie, Shu-Ling Chong