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Abstract Background Gram-negative organisms are common causes of bloodstream infection (BSI) during the neonatal period and early childhood. Whilst several large studies have characterised these isolates in adults, equivalent data (particularly incorporating whole genome sequencing) is lacking in the paediatric population. Methods We perform an epidemiological and sequencing based analysis of Gram-negative bloodstream infections (327 isolates (296 successfully sequenced) from 287 patients) in children <18 years old between 2008 and 2018 in Oxfordshire, UK. Results Here we show that the burden of infection lies predominantly in neonates and that most infections are caused by Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp. and Enterobacter hormaechei. There is no evidence in our setting that the proportion of antimicrobial resistant isolates is increasing in the paediatric population although we identify some evidence of sub-breakpoint increases in gentamicin resistance. The population structure of E. coli BSI isolates in neonates and children mirrors that in adults with a predominance of STs 131/95/73/69 and the same proportions of O-antigen serotypes. In most cases in our setting there is no evidence of transmission/point-source acquisition and we demonstrate the utility of whole genome sequencing to refute a previously suspected outbreak. Conclusions Our findings support continued use of current empirical treatment guidelines and suggest that O-antigen targeted vaccines may have a role in reducing the incidence of neonatal sepsis.

Original publication




Journal article


Communications Medicine


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date