23 Apr 2021
European journal of clinical microbiology & infectious diseases : official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology
Patients with viral respiratory infections often present symptoms compatible with bloodstream infections. Consequently, the winter period commonly associated with epidemic respiratory illnesses shows an increase in the number of blood cultures (BC) and to occasional saturation of automated BC systems. Here, we explored the seasonal variations in BC samples and the potential impact of shortening the incubation time of BC when automated BC systems are close to saturation. A retrospective study was conducted during a 3-year period in 4 hospitals located in the Paris region, France. All aerobic and anaerobic bottles were included, except pediatric bottles and those sampled for suspicion of endocarditis. The number of BC bottles collected during the winter period was compared to the annual baseline. All bottles positive after a 4-day incubation were analyzed regarding clinical and microbiological findings. The number of BC bottles was significantly higher during the winter periods, compared to the annual baseline (up to 14%). A total of 292,349 BC bottles were analyzed with 23,363 (8.0%) positive, including 236 (1%) after a 4-day incubation. Of these 236 bottles, 76 (64.8%) were positive with a contaminant, 78 (33.1%) with a clinically significant microorganism identified for the same patient in the previous 4 days, and only 5 (2.1%) with a clinically significant microorganism not previously identified. Winter periods were associated with a significant increase in BC samples. Shortening the incubation time of BC bottles from 5 to 4 days seems a relevant option when automated BC systems are close to saturation.