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Background. We identified the predominant pathogens and antimicrobial susceptibilities of nosocomial bloodstream isolates in pediatric patients in the US Prospective surveillance for nosocomial bloodstream infections at 49 hospitals during a 6-year period [Surveillance and Control of Pathogens of Epidemiologic Importance (SCOPE)] detected 22 609 bloodstream infections, of which 3432 occurred in patients <=16 years of age.

Results. Gram-positive organisms accounted for 65% of cases, Gram-negative organisms accounted for 24% of cases and 11% were caused by fungi. The overall crude mortality was 14% (475 of 3432) but notably higher for infections caused by Candida spp. and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 20 and 29%, respectively. The most common organisms were coagulase-negative staphylococci (43%), enterococci, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida spp. (each, 9%). The mean interval between admission and infection averaged 21 days for coagulase-negative staphylococci, 25 days for S. aureus and Candida spp., 32 days for Klebsiella spp. and 34 days for Enterococcus spp. The proportion of methicillin-resistant S. aureus increased from 10% in 1995 to 29% in 2001. Vancomycin-resistance was seen in 1% of Enterococcus faecalis and in 11% of Enterococcus faecium isolates.

Conclusion. Nosocomial BSI occurred predominantly in very young and/or critically ill children. Gram-positive pathogens predominated across all ages, and increasing antimicrobial resistance was observed in pediatric patients.

(C) 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.