Plasma lipid profiles discriminate bacterial from viral infection in febrile children.

Wang, Xinzhu; Nijman, Ruud; Camuzeaux, Stephane; Sands, Caroline; Jackson, Heather; Kaforou, Myrsini; Emonts, Marieke; Herberg, Jethro A; Maconochie, Ian; Carrol, Enitan D; Paulus, Stephane C; Zenz, Werner; Van der Flier, Michiel; de Groot, Ronald; Martinon-Torres, Federico; Schlapbach, Luregn J.; Pollard, Andrew J; Fink, Colin; Kuijpers, Taco T; Anderson, Suzanne; ... (2019). Plasma lipid profiles discriminate bacterial from viral infection in febrile children. Scientific reports, 9(1), p. 17714. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41598-019-53721-1

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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.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Schlapbach, Luregn Jan


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Springer Nature




Andrea Stettler

Date Deposited:

07 Jan 2020 08:30

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2020 02:30

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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