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.
Kaforou M, Herberg JA, Wright VJ, Coin LJM, Levin M. Diagnosis of Bacterial Infection Using a 2-Transcript Host RNA Signature in Febrile Infants 60 Days or Younger. JAMA. 2017;317(15):1577-1578. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.1365