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AIMS: To describe the clinical features and outcome of bacteraemia due to Staphylococcus aureus in children admitted to a rural Kenyan hospital. METHODS: Retrospective case review of all children with a positive blood culture for S aureus admitted to Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya, between January 1996 and December 2001. RESULTS: Ninety seven children (median age 17 months, range 1 day to 12 years; 46 male) with bacteraemia due to S aureus were identified, accounting for 5% of all positive blood cultures; 10 were considered to be nosocomially acquired. A focus that was clinically consistent with staphylococcal infection was identified in 52 cases; of these, 88% had multiple foci. Children with a focus were likely to be older, present later, and have a longer duration of hospital stay. Most children in this group (90%) received intravenous cloxacillin on admission in contrast to none of those without a focus. In the former group, mortality was only 6% compared to 47% among those without a focus; 10/13 neonates without an apparent staphylococcal focus died compared to none of the 11 with a focus. Eight of the 10 neonates in the former group died within 48 hours of admission, before empirical antibiotics could be changed to include cloxacillin. CONCLUSIONS: Children most at risk of death associated with bacteraemia due to S aureus are least likely to have clinical features traditionally associated with this infection.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Dis Child

Publication Date





568 - 571


Anti-Bacterial Agents, Bacteremia, Child, Child, Preschool, Cloxacillin, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Kenya, Logistic Models, Male, Retrospective Studies, Rural Health, Staphylococcal Infections, Staphylococcus aureus