Acta Paediatr. 2022 Sep 17. doi: 10.1111/apa.16544. Online ahead of print.
AIM: According to the Italian national statistical institute, severe bacterial infections (SBI) in Italy are responsible for 1.7% of mortality under five years of age and their recognition is often challenging, especially in the first stages of the disease. We tried to estimate the prevalence of SBI in our target population and to identify signs and symptoms that could guide in the initial evaluation of a child with a possible SBI.
METHODS: We designed a prospective, multicenter study and enrolled patients aged 0-14 years at the first evaluation to the emergency department with an acute illness lasting a maximum of five days. The presence of variables suggestive of SBI was collected for every enrolled patient. One week after the enrolment, every patient was followed-up by telephone.
RESULTS: SBI is more likely to be detected with the ‘gut feeling’ in both univariate and multivariate models (univariate OR: 7.16, 95%CI: 4.08-12.56; multivariate OR: 5.34, 95%CI:2.78-10.25), while abnormal breathing pattern resulted significative only in univariate model (OR 3.83, 95%CI: 1.98-7.40). Nevertheless, their associated sensitivity is low.
CONCLUSION: SBI is uncommon in the absence of paediatricians’ gut feeling and abnormal respiratory pattern.