Original Articles

Septicemia Following Rotavirus Gastroenteritis

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Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article written by Eric Scheier, MD, FAAP and Shraga Aviner, MD, PhD.
IMAJ 2012: 15: March: 166-169
Abstract

 Background: Rotavirus gastroenteritis is a prevalent childhood illness rarely complicated by secondary bacterial sepsis. Although there are case reports of septicemia after rotavirus infection, there are no recent reviews on this topic.


Objectives: To add new cases of septicemia after rotavirus to the literature, review the few cases of septicemia after rotavirus that have been reported, calculate the incidence of septicemia in children hospitalized for rotavirus gastroenteritis, and discuss the characteristics of septicemia after rotavirus infection and implications for current pediatric practice.


Methods: We identified children whose illness was complicated by septicemia from among all hospitalizations at our facility for rotavirus gastroenteritis from May 1999 through May 2010. We also review the few cases reported in the English literature. 


Results: We identified two cases of septicemia from among 632 hospitalizations for rotavirus gastroenteritis in this time period, for an incidence rate of 0.32%, which is comparable to other estimates in the English literature. The typical course for cases of bacterial superinfection involves a second peak of high fever; other clinical signs are variable.


Conclusions: Septicemia after rotavirus gastroenteritis is a rare but dangerous entity. Early identification of a child developing bacterial superinfection after rotavirus, as in any case of sepsis, is of the utmost importance, as is obtaining blood cultures in a child with a rotavirus infection and a second fever spike.