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Bacteremia is the "presence of viable bacteria circulating in the blood. Fever, chills, tachycardia, and tachypnea are common acute manifestations of bacteremia. The majority of cases are seen in already hospitalized patients, most of whom have underlying diseases or procedures which render their bloodstreams susceptible to invasion."[1]


Sensitivity of common findings for bacteremia in adults[2]
Finding Sensitivity
Abnormal body temperature
(<36.1°C (97°F) or >38°C (100.4°C)
Abnormal leukocyte count
< 4 K/μL or > 10 K/μL
Abnormal bandemia
> 5% total bands
Abnormal body temperature or leukocyte count 83%

A clinical prediction rule aids in identifying patients who might have positive blood cultures.[3]

A clinical prediction rule aids in identifying patients with bacteremia from staphylococcus aureus who might develop bacterial endocarditis.[4]

Alternative methods of collecting blood cultures have been suggested.[5]


  1. Anonymous (2022), Bacteremia (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Seigel TA, Cocchi MN, Salciccioli J, Shapiro NI, Howell M, Tang A et al. (2012). "Inadequacy of temperature and white blood cell count in predicting bacteremia in patients with suspected infection.". J Emerg Med 42 (3): 254-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jemermed.2010.05.038. PMID 20674238. Research Blogging.
  3. Shapiro NI et al. Who Needs a Blood Culture? A Prospectively Derived and Validated Prediction Rule. Journal of Emergency Medicine. DOI: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2008.04.001 (Accessed May 17, 2008).
  4. Kaasch AJ, Fowler VG, Rieg S, Peyerl-Hoffmann G, Birkholz H, Hellmich M et al. (2011). "Use of a Simple Criteria Set for Guiding Echocardiography in Nosocomial Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia.". Clin Infect Dis 53 (1): 1-9. DOI:10.1093/cid/cir320. PMID 21653295. Research Blogging.