Fever is the most common reason that children present to Emergency Departments. Clinical signs and symptoms suggestive of bacterial infection are often non-specific, and there is no definitive test for the accurate diagnosis of infection. The 'omics' approaches to identifying biomarkers from the host-response to bacterial infection are promising. In this study, lipidomic analysis was carried out with plasma samples obtained from febrile children with confirmed bacterial infection (n = 20) and confirmed viral infection (n = 20). We show for the first time that bacterial and viral infection produces distinct profile in the host lipidome. Some species of glycerophosphoinositol, sphingomyelin, lysophosphatidylcholine and cholesterol sulfate were higher in the confirmed virus infected group, while some species of fatty acids, glycerophosphocholine, glycerophosphoserine, lactosylceramide and bilirubin were lower in the confirmed virus infected group when compared with confirmed bacterial infected group. A combination of three lipids achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.911 (95% CI 0.81 to 0.98). This pilot study demonstrates the potential of metabolic biomarkers to assist clinicians in distinguishing bacterial from viral infection in febrile children, to facilitate effective clinical management and to the limit inappropriate use of antibiotics.
Adolescent, Bacterial Infections, Biomarkers, Child, Child, Preschool, Cholesterol, Diagnosis, Differential, Female, Fever of Unknown Origin, Humans, Infant, Inositol Phosphates, Lysophosphatidylcholines, Male, Sphingomyelins, Virus Diseases