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July 1980

Bacteremias due to Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae: Their Occurrence and Course in Children With Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Clinical Microbiology, Sidney Farber Cancer Institute, the Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(7):668-672. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130190036009

Nine Haemophilus influenzae and 24 Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteremias occurring in children with cancer during the years 1968 to 1977 were reviewed. The number of bacteremias due to these organisms remained relatively constant, in contrast with a sharp decrease in bacteremias caused by other organisms during this period. The highest incidence of bacteremia occurred in patients with acute leukemias and the lowest incidence in patients with solid tumors. Twenty-seven of 33 episodes occurred while patients were receiving chemotherapy. Nine bacteremias were fatal, but concurrent or superinfections contributed to death in six of these. Children with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy seem to be at higher risk of bacteremia and meningitis due to H influenzae and Strep pneumoniae than are normal children. New approaches to the prevention of these infections, such as the use of bacterial polysaccharide vaccines, deserve investigation.

(Am J Dis Child 134:668-672, 1980)