Management and Care of the Febrile Infant Aged 0-36 Months Noting Associated Risks of Occult Bacteremia
Shelters, Molly L.
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Fever is a common complaint for pediatric patients seen in emergency rooms and by primary care physicians. While fever is often accompanied by other symptoms linking it to a definitive source, there are many instances where fever presents with no apparent cause. For febrile pediatric patients, a majority of which range in age from birth to thirty-six months, fever may be the only symptom of a serious bacterial infection. The category of serious bacterial infections includes respiratory and bone or joint infections and also meningitis and occult bacteremia Occult bacteremia has been the source of much debate in literature over the past thirty years due to the fact that the nature of the infection being occult hinders the diagnostic techniques of physicians. Occult bacteremia is difficult to distinguish from viral syndromes and it is because of this that the treatment of febrile infants has been the topic of much analysis. Antibiotic use and its effects on occult bacteremia has been reviewed in current literature and in more recent years, the introduction of two vaccines against Haemophi/us influenzae type-B and Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes have called into question the current guidelines used for management of febrile infants. The treatment of febrile infants is constantly evolving and being discussed so as to be efficient and also prevent major sequelae of undetected occult bacteremia.