Bloodstream bacterial infection among outpatient children with acute febrile illness in north-eastern Tanzania

Coline Mahende, Billy Ngasala, John Lusingu, Allvan Butichi, Paminus Lushino, Martha Lemnge, Bruno Mmbando, Zul Premji

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Fever is a common clinical symptom in children attending hospital outpatient clinics in rural Tanzania, yet there is still a paucity of data on the burden of bloodstream bacterial infection among these patients. Methods: The present study was conducted at Korogwe District Hospital in north-eastern Tanzania. Patients aged between 2 and 59 months with a history of fever or measured axillary temperature ≥37.5°C attending the outpatient clinic were screened for enrolment into the study. Blood culturing was performed using the BACTEC 9050® system. A biochemical analytical profile index and serological tests were used for identification and confirmation of bacterial isolates. In-vitro antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed using the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion method. The identification of Plasmodium falciparum malaria was performed by microscopy with Giemsa stained blood films. Results: A total of 808 blood cultures were collected between January and October 2013. Bacterial growth was observed in 62/808 (7.7%) of the cultured samples. Pathogenic bacteria were identified in 26/808 (3.2%) cultures and the remaining 36/62 (58.1%) were classified as contaminants. Salmonella typhi was the predominant bacterial isolate detected in 17/26 (65.4%) patients of which 16/17 (94.1%) were from patients above 12 months of age. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the second leading bacterial isolate detected in 4/26 (15.4%) patients. A high proportion of S. typhi 11/17 (64.7%) was isolated during the rainy season. S. typhi isolates were susceptible to ciprofloxacin (n = 17/17, 100%) and ceftriaxone (n = 13/17, 76.5%) but resistant to chloramphenicol (n = 15/17, 88.2%). P. falciparum malaria was identified in 69/808 (8.5%) patients, none of whom had bacterial infection. Conclusion: Bloodstream bacterial infection was not found to be a common cause of fever in outpatient children; and S. typhi was the predominant isolate. This study highlights the need for rational use of antimicrobial prescription in febrile paediatric outpatients presenting at healthcare facilities in rural Tanzania.

Original languageEnglish
Article number289
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial sensitivity
  • Bacterial infection
  • Children
  • Korogwe
  • Malaria
  • Salmonella typhi
  • Tanzania


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