Bacteraemia, Malaria, and Case Fatality Among Children Hospitalized With Fever in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFrontiers in Microbiology. 2020, 11, 2118. 10.3389/fmicb.2020.02118
Background: Febrile illness is the commonest cause of hospitalization in children <5 years in sub-Saharan Africa, and bacterial bloodstream infections and malaria are major causes of death. Methods: From March 2017 to July 2018, we enrolled 2,226 children aged 0–5 years hospitalized due to fever in four major public hospitals of Dar es Salaam, namely, Amana, Temeke, and Mwananyamala Regional Hospitals and Muhimbili National Hospital. We recorded social demographic and clinical data, and we performed blood-culture and HIV-antibody testing. We used qPCR to quantify Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia and Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization-Time of Flight (MALDI-TOF) to identify bacterial isolates. Disk diffusion method was used for antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Results: Nineteen percent of the children (426/2,226) had pathogens detected from blood. Eleven percent (236/2,226) of the children had bacteraemia/fungaemia and 10% (204/2,063) had P. falciparum malaria. Ten children had concomitant malaria and bacteraemia. Gram-negative bacteria (64%) were more frequent than Gram-positive (32%) and fungi (4%). Over 50% of Gram-negative bacteria were extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producers and multidrug resistant. Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was found in 11/42 (26.2%). The most severe form of clinical malaria was associated with high parasitaemia (>four million genomes/μL) of P. falciparum in plasma. Overall, in-hospital death was 4% (89/2,146), and it was higher in children with bacteraemia (8%, 18/227) than malaria (2%, 4/194, p = 0.007). Risk factors for death were bacteraemia (p = 0.03), unconsciousness at admission (p < 0.001), and admission at a tertiary hospital (p = 0.003). Conclusion: Compared to previous studies in this region, our study showed a reduction in malaria prevalence, a decrease in in-hospital mortality, and an increase in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) including ESBLs and multidrug resistance. An increase of AMR highlights the importance of continued strengthening of diagnostic capability and antimicrobial stewardship programs. We also found malaria and bacteraemia contributed equally in causing febrile illness, but bacteraemia caused higher in-hospital death. The most severe form of clinical malaria was associated with P. falciparum parasitaemia.