Which infections do occur most frequently?

Author:  Maria Yiallouros, Gesche Tallen, MD, PhD, erstellt am 2013/04/17, Editor:  PD Dr. med. Gesche Tallen, English Translation:  Hannah McRae, Last modification:  2014/05/21

Infectious agents in children and adolescents with cancer are mostly germs that usually do not cause diseases in their healthy peers. In general, bacteria (perdominantly from the groups Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Pseudomonas, and Clostridium), viruses (such as Herpes simplex, Varicella zoster), fungi (such as Candida albicans) or protozoa (such as Toxoplasma gondii) are responsible for causing infectious complications.

Key portals of entry for pathogens are the disrupted mucocutaneous barriers (see above) due to the underlying cancer and its treatment, including surgery, chemo- and radiothreapy as well as indwelling venous catheters, ventricular shunts and surgical drains, chest and other tubes, as well as urinary catheters, to name a few.

Frequent infections in children andadolescents with cancer are::

  • respiratory tract infections
  • gastrointestinal tract and abdominal infections
  • infections caused by vascular catheters and drains
  • ventricular shunt-associated central nervous system (CNS) infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • local infections (for example at a surgical or exit site of a drain or catheter)