Non-typhoidal Salmonella infections among children in a tertiary hospital in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China, 2012-2019


Yefang KeWenbo LuWenyuan LiuPan ZhuQunying ChenZhe Zhu 


Background: Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS), a common cause of diarrheal enterocolitis, may also cause severe invasive diseases. Limited information on NTS infections in children is available in China.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of children admitted to the Ningbo Women and Children’s Hospital with culture-confirmed NTS infections between January 2012 and December 2019. Clinical and microbiological information were collected. We compared demographic, clinical and antibiotic resistance variables of invasive NTS (iNTS) infections and non-invasive NTS (non-iNTS) infections, and explored associations between hospitalizations for pediatric NTS infections and temperature and rainfall.

Results: A total of 166 pediatric hospitalizations due to NTS infection were identified during the 8-year study period. Most of the 166 children were <5 years old (93.4%). The primary serotype was Salmonella Typhimurium (62.6%). Of 166 children with NTS infections, 11 had invasive infection. Compared to 155 children with non-iNTS infections, we found that iNTS infections were more likely to occur in infants ≤6 months or children with an underlying medical condition of leukemia at admission, but iNTS infections less often presented with a symptom of diarrhea (P <0.05 in all cases). The resistance rates of non-iNTS isolates to ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, cefepime, and aztreonam were significantly higher than those of iNTS isolates (P <0.05 in all cases). In addition, compared with iNTS isolates, non-iNTS isolates were significantly associated with resistance to ≥4 CLSI (Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute) classes (P = 0.041, OR: 0.089, 95% CI: 0.009-0.901) and ≥2 first-line treatment agents (P = 0.040, OR: 0.159, 95% CI: 0.028-0.916). On the other hand, we found that seasonal NTS hospitalizations were positively associated with average seasonal temperature (r = 0.961, P = 0.039) and average monthly rainfall (r = 0.921, P <0.001).

Conclusion: Non-iNTS accounts for the majority of infections in this study; infants ≤6 months and children with underlying medical conditions of leukemia are more likely to have invasive infection. The rates of antibiotic resistance in the iNTS isolates are generally lower than those in the non-iNTS isolates. On the other hand, high temperatures and heavy rainfall are positively associated with NTS hospitalizations among children in Ningbo.

Click here to read the article, published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.