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Research Letter
April 18, 2017

Diagnosis of Bacterial Infection Using a 2-Transcript Host RNA Signature in Febrile Infants 60 Days or Younger

Author Affiliations
  • 1Section of Pediatrics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
  • 2Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia
JAMA. 2017;317(15):1577-1578. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.1365

Distinguishing children with potentially life-threatening bacterial infections from febrile children with viral infections remains a major challenge. Herberg and colleagues,1 in a preliminary, cross-sectional study of 370 febrile children (aged <17 years) in Europe and the United States, reported that children with bacterial infection may be characterized by the difference in blood RNA expression values of 2 genes. In a recent study, Mahajan and colleagues2 reported a 66-transcript blood RNA signature that distinguished bacterial from viral infection in 279 febrile infants younger than 60 days. Young infants are at high risk of bacterial infection; diagnosis is difficult and prompt treatment important. To provide further validation of the 2-gene signature and to evaluate its performance in the infant population, we applied the signature to the RNA expression data of Mahajan et al.

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