C-Reactive protein in viral and bacterial gastroenteritis in childhood*


  • *

    This work was presented in part at the 13th Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Birmingham, UK, 1995.

G Borgnolo, Piazza Dante Alighieri6, 34074 Monfalcone (Go), Italy


To differentiate bacterial from viral infections the level of C-reactive protein in serum samples was studied in three groups of children under 5 years of age with gastroenteritis. Of the 53 children with bacterial infection, 41 (77%) had C-reactive protein levels ≥ 12mgl-1, 32 (66%) ≥ 20mgl-1 and 24 (45%) ≥ 35mgl-1. Of the 35 patients with viral infection, 4 (11%) had C-reactive protein levels ≥ 12mgl-1, 3 (9%)≥20 mgl-1 and 1(3%) ≥ 35mgl-1. The best balance between sensitivity and specificity of C-reactive protein was obtained for a cut-off level ≥ 12mgl-1 (sensitivity 77%, specificity 89%) as compared to ≥ 20mgl-1 (sensitivity 58%, specificity 97%) and ≥ 35mgl-1 (sensitivity 44%, specificity 97%). Our results suggest that the determination of C-reactive protein values may be a useful tool for predicting bacterial gastroenteritis in children.