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NCH investigators receive grant to distinguish bacterial infections from viral infections in infants
Date:9/30/2010

Octavio Ramilo, MD, chief of Infectious Diseases at Nationwide Children's Hospital, is one of three principal investigators who will share in a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Ramilo and a team of more than 50 physicians across the United States are investigating the use of novel technologies for distinguishing between bacterial and viral infections in infants with fevers within emergency departments. This could lead to more rapid and accurate diagnoses and treatment for serious bacterial infections such as bacteremia and meningitis.

The multi-site study, including more than 20 children's hospitals within the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) network, will make use of RNA biosignatures biological indicators that can be identified from a blood test to distinguish infants presenting with fever who have bacterial infections from those infected with non-bacterial, or viral, pathogens.

The evaluation and management of febrile infants, especially those younger than 60 days of age, remains a challenge, particularly in hospital emergency departments. In fact, 6 to 10 percent of these infants arrive with serious, bacterial infections. Current tests to distinguish infants with these infections from those with benign viral illnesses can be invasive, inaccurate and time consuming, sometimes yielding false positive or false negative results. In addition, urine, blood and spinal fluid cultures typically take several days for final results.

"We plan to determine the host response to infection using RNA biosignatures that could help address some very challenging problems when evaluating these young, vulnerable infants," said Dr. Ramilo, also a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "This study could significantly improve the care we can provide to our youngest of patients when they arrive at an emergency
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Contact: Erin Pope
Erin.Pope@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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