Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Trop Paediatr. 1993;13(1):45-53.

Salmonella bacteraemia among young children at a rural hospital in western Zaire.

Author information

Institut Médical Evangélique, Kimpese, Bas-Zaïre.


An analysis of 206 cases of extra-intestinal Salmonella infection among children up to 60 months of age admitted to a rural hospital in western Zaire was undertaken. Most children presented with fever but without any focus of infection which was difficult to distinguish clinically from falciparum malaria. The majority (83%) of the infections were due to serotypes other than S. typhi. Infection with these serotypes was clinically indistinguishable from S. Typhi infection and was associated with a comparably high case fatality rate of 23%. Death was significantly associated with age under 6 months (relative risk 1.7), meningitis (RR 4.7), jaundice (RR 2.5), severe anaemia (RR 1.8), contracting disease in the late wet season when malnutrition peaks (RR 2.6) and infection with a chloramphenicol-resistant isolate (RR 3.2). The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance and HIV infection will complicate the management of this disease in the future.


Between 1982 and 1986 in western Zaire, a pediatrician collected data on 206 children under 5 years old presenting at the Institute Medical Evangelique, a 400-bed mission hospital (60 pediatric beds), in Kimpese with persisting fever despite chloroquine therapy for falciparum malaria, a negative or scanty positive thick film for malaria, and no clear localizing signs of infections. The pediatrician suspected that these cases had an extraintestinal Salmonella infection and took blood, synovial fluid, and/or cerebrospinal fluid samples for diagnostic analyses. Salmonella serotypes other than Salmonella typhi (non-S. typhi) were responsible for most bacteremia cases (83%). The clinical features of non-S. typhi and S. typhi infections were basically the same. The case fatality rate for non-S. typhi and S. typhi an S. typhi infections were 22.7% and 29.4%, respectively. Infants under 6 months old had a significantly higher case fatality rate than older children (relative risk [RR] = 1.7; p .0005; e.g., 66% and 100% for infants under 3 months old). Meningitis was significantly associated with increased mortality, regardless of age (RR = 4.68). Jaundice was the only clinical sign significantly linked to increased mortality (RR = 2.35), especially among children who had S. typhi infection (80%). Mortality occurred significantly more often when children fell ill with Salmonella bacteremia in the late rainy season, coinciding with the peak of malnutrition, than in the dry season (RR = 2.62). Chloramphenicol-resistant non-S. typhi isolated were significantly associated with increased mortality (RR = 3.19). Hemoglobin levels below 6 g (i.e. severe anemia) has a strong link to increased mortality (RR = 1.77). Salmonella bacteremia will become more difficult to treat as antibiotic resistance and the prevalence of HIV infection increases in African countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center