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Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 1996 May-Jun;13(3):217-29.

Infection risk factors in febrile, neutropenic children and adolescents.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, USA.


We studied 276 fever episodes with an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) < 500/mm3 to determine patient characteristics predicting serious infection. Infections occurred in 38% of patients. Blood cultures were positive in 58% of documented infections. There was no difference in the rates of infection or positive blood culture when ANC was < 200/mm3 compared with a higher ANC. However, certain high risk infections were more common with an ANC < 200/ mm3. Leukemia patients had more infections compared with other groups. Serious infections were more common during induction therapy or relapse. Infection incidence varied significantly with patient age and onset of fever in the inpatients. Less than one fifth of febrile neutropenic episodes had no risk features for serious infection. We conclude that several clinical characteristics correlate with serious infection in febrile, neutropenic children and adolescents receiving modern supportive care. Despite improvements in supportive care measures, most febrile, neutropenic patients need close observation and empiric intravenous antibiotic therapy.

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