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Home Industry News Blood test could help detect serious infections in babies

Blood test could help detect serious infections in babies

6th October 2008

A blood test may help detect serious bacterial infections (SBIs) in babies, a new report has said.

The test could identify conditions like urinary tract infections and blood stream infections in infants who come to the emergency departments with fevers that have no clear clause.

A new diagnostic marker, called procalcitonin, can help identify infants at high risk for SBIs while potentially reducing unnecessary and aggressive testing, medication and hospitalisation in low risk infants, the report published in the journal Pediatrics today claims.

The researchers used a procalcitonin test in 234 feverish babies under 3 months of age, of whom 18 percent had definite or possible SBIs confirmed by independent clinical criteria.

The results showed that procalcitonin not only detected all cases of SBIs in feverous infants but also proved sensitive enough to establish a threshold value that would identify infants at low risk for serious infections.

“About 12 per cent of those whom we consider ‘well appearing’ end up having serious infections when we do an evaluation,” said Richard Bachur, acting chief of emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston.

The authors of today’s report sought a rapid diagnostic test that could determine which children have serious infections at their first visit to hospital.

“We hope to identify those infants that are at very low risk of serious infection and tailor their evaluation so as to minimise invasive testing and exposure to unnecessary antibiotics,” Mr Bachur said.

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