Procession to pediatric bacteremia and sepsis: covert operations and failures in diplomacy.
Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, bacterial sepsis remains a major cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality, particularly among neonates, the critically ill, and the growing immunocompromised patient population. Sepsis is the end point of a complex and dynamic series of events in which both host and microbial factors drive high morbidity and potentially lethal physiologic alterations. In this article we provide a succinct overview of the events that lead to pediatric bloodstream infections (BSIs) and sepsis, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms used by bacteria to subvert host barriers and local immunity to gain access to and persist within the systemic circulation. In the events preceding and during BSI and sepsis, Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens use a battery of factors for translocation, inhibition of immunity, molecular mimicry, intracellular survival, and nutrient scavenging. Gaps in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of bacterial BSIs and sepsis are highlighted as opportunities to identify and develop new therapeutics.
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