Infections in patients with cancer are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In most cases, the presence of neutropenia renders them prone to infections to either common or opportunistic pathogens. A wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, or fungal agents is encountered in these patients.
The aim of this study was to evaluate infection types and pathogens in pediatric patients with cancer with and without neutropenia.
A total of 37 pediatric patients with cancer (median age ± 25% quartile, 6.0 ± 2.0% years) with 70 febrile episodes were evaluated at fever’s onset and 48 hours later with complete blood count, C-reactive protein, cultures of biological fluids, polymerase chain reaction, and antibody titers.
Of 70 infections, 30 (42.85%) were bacterial, 13 (18.57%) were viral, 3 (4.28%) were fungal, 16 (22.85%) were fever of unknown origin, 18 (25.71%) were opportunistic, and 12 (17.14%) were mixed infections. Neutropenia was detected in 42 (60.0%) of 70 febrile episodes, mainly in patients with hematological malignancies [odds ratio, 2.81 (0.96-8.22); P = 0.059]. Neutropenic patients had higher prevalence of mucocutaneous infections (47.6% vs 7.14%; P = 0.004). Herpes simplex virus 1 infections occurred only in the neutropenic group (14.3%).
Patients with cancer exhibited a high prevalence of bacterial (42.85%), opportunistic (25.7%), and mixed infections (17.14%). Patients with hematological malignancies and neutropenia presented higher frequency of mucocutaneous and herpes simplex virus 1 infections than the nonneutropenic ones.

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