The Open Microbiology Journal

ISSN: 1874-2858 ― Volume 13, 2019

Diagnostic Significance of White Blood Cell Count and C-Reactive Protein in Neonatal Sepsis; Asella Referral Hospital, South East Ethiopia

Abebe Sorsa*
Asella College of Health Science, Asella, Ethiopia



Nowadays various biochemical markers, such as C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Procalcitonin and tumor necrosis factor alpha, have been proposed as a potential marker for screening neonatal sepsis. In the current study, we tried to see the diagnostic significance of White Blood Cell (WBC) count and CRP in diagnostic screening of neonatal sepsis.


A prospective cross-sectional study was conducted from May 2016 to April 2017 in Asella Teaching and Referral Hospital. Data were entered into EPI-INFO version 3.5.1 for cleanup and then exported to SPSS version 17 for further analysis. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV) were used to assess the accuracy of CRP and WBC count taking blood culture as gold standard.


Data of 303 neonates with clinical sepsis were analyzed. Positive CRP and abnormal WBC were reported in 136(45%) and 99(32.7%) of study subjects respectively. Blood culture turned to be positive in 88(29.4%) of study subjects. The Sensitivity, Specificity, PPV and NPV of WBC count were 59.5 %, 79.6%, 52%, 64.5% respectively while the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of CRP were 65.6%, 78%, 42% and 91% respectively. By combining both WBC and CRP, the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV improve to 78.5%, 83%, 60% and 93% respectively. CRP positivity rate was comparable across gram positive and gram negative bacteria while high WBC count were more reported among gram positive sepsis than gram negative ( OR 4.8, (95% CI 1.45-15.87, P 0.01)


Based on this study’s finding, it can be concluded that CRP alone or in combination with WBC count showed better diagnostic accuracy in neonatal sepsis.

Keywords: Neonatal sepsis, WBC count, CRP, Sensitivity, Specificity, PPV, NPV.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 12
First Page: 209
Last Page: 217
Publisher Id: TOMICROJ-12-209
DOI: 10.2174/1874285801812010209

Article History:

Received Date: 15/03/2018
Revision Received Date: 08/06/2018
Acceptance Date: 11/06/2018
Electronic publication date: 29/06/2018
Collection year: 2018

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© 2018 Abebe Sorsa.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Asella College of Health Science, Asella, Ethiopia, Tel: +251913772780; E-mail:


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