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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2013 Nov;32(11):e414-8. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31829baae0.

Demographic and clinical characteristics of Campylobacter bacteremia in children with and without predisposing factors.

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From the Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit, Soroka University Medical Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.



Campylobacter, a common cause of childhood gastroenteritis, rarely causes bacteremia, which is reported mainly in immune-compromised children. Our aim was to compare demographic and clinical characteristics of childhood campylobacter bacteremia (CB) between children with and without risk factors for CB.


A retrospective, population-based study, conducted between 1989 and 2010. Risk factors were defined as immunodeficiency, malignancy, extreme prematurity or chronic diseases with malnutrition.


Seventy-six CB episodes (1 per child/month) were identified in 14 children with risk factors (30 episodes) and 46 children without risk factors (46 episodes). Children with risk factors were older (mean age 120.0±72.8 vs. 16.2±27.6 months) with higher proportion of males (90.0% vs. 60.9%), less gastrointestinal symptoms (43.3% vs. 69.9%) and higher hospitalization rates (96.7% vs. 69.6%) compared with children without risk factors. Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli (46/47 of identified species) were the most common species in both groups. Positive campylobacter stool cultures were found only in children without risk factors (0% vs. 38.5%). No mortality cases were observed. All isolates tested for antibiotic susceptibility were sensitive to macrolides and carbapenems.


Childhood CB is rare in southern Israel. The disease manifests as a single gastroenteritis complication in a previously healthy young child or as recurrent episodes in an older, immune-compromised child, usually without gastrointestinal symptoms. This disparity may reflect pathogenesis differences, with disease in the immune-competent being dependent on pathogen virulence, whereas disease in the immune-compromised being host dependent. Disease outcome is usually favorable, and macrolides remain the antibiotic treatment of choice.

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