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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2011 Jul;30(7):831-6. doi: 10.1007/s10096-010-1150-5. Epub 2011 May 19.

Procalcitonin as a potent marker of bacterial infection in febrile Afro-Caribbean patients at the emergency department.

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  • 1Immunology Laboratory Department, Red Cross Blood Bank Foundation, Pater Euwensweg 36, Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles.


Procalcitonin (PCT) has been shown to be of additional value in the work-up of a febrile patient. This study is the first to investigate the additional value of PCT in an Afro-Caribbean febrile population at the emergency department (ED) of a general hospital. Febrile patients were included at the ED. Prospective, blinded PCT measurements were performed in patients with a microbiologically or serologically confirmed diagnosis or a strongly suspected diagnosis on clinical grounds. PCT analysis was performed in 93 patients. PCT levels differentiated well between confirmed bacterial and confirmed viral infection (area under the curve [AUC] of 0.82, sensitivity 85%, specificity 69%, cut-off 0.24 ng/mL), between confirmed bacterial infection and non-infectious fever (AUC of 0.84, sensitivity 90%, specificity 71%, cut-off 0.21 ng/mL) and between all bacterial infections (confirmed and suspected) and non-infectious fever (AUC of 0.80, sensitivity 85%, specificity 71%, cut-off 0.21 ng/mL). C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were shown to be less accurate when comparing the same groups. This is the first study showing that, in a non-Caucasian febrile population at the ED, PCT is a more valuable marker of bacterial infection than CRP. These results may improve diagnostics and eventually decrease antibiotic prescriptions in resource-limited settings.

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