Bacteria thought to be innocuous are a hazard to children whose immunologic capability is reduced by disease or by immunosuppressive therapy. Among bacteria responsible for severe infections is Staphylococcus epidermidis, a common surface inhabitant, ordinarily of no consequence to a healthy host. In the August issue of the American Journal of Diseases of Children (AJDC), Louise Friedman and her colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Cornell University Medical College in New York City detail the role of S epidermidis as a cause of septicemia among 92 children with leukemia.1 They report that 12.7% of all septicemic episodes are caused by S epidermidis and explore the factors that have allowed this organism to become the fourth most frequent pathogen in their experience. The severity of S epidermidis septicemia is underscored by two deaths among the 19 patients affected.
Primary care physicians are now responsible for the ongoing care of children who
Fulginiti VA. Staphylococcus epidermidis Septicemia in Children: An Emerging and Difficult Problem. JAMA. 1984;252(8):1054. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350080056028