Identifying the etiology of an acute respiratory infection in children is a well-known challenge. In this study, we evaluated the correlation between salivary C-reactive protein (CRP) and its serum counterpart, which is known to be higher in bacterial infections but necessitates a venipuncture. Salivary and serum CRPs were measured in children with an acute respiratory illness, aged 2 months to 18 years. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were used to measure correlation. Discrimination of the salivary CRP levels for predicting serum levels above 100 mg/L was calculated and compared to serum CRP levels. Sensitivity and specificity were similarly calculated. Salivary CRP was measured in 104 samples. Levels correlated significantly and positively with serum CRP levels (r = 0.670, p<0.001). Area under the curve for predicting serum CRP levels of 100 mg/L was 0.848. For a salivary CRP concentration above 32,610 ng/L, the sensitivity and specificity were 69% and 93%, respectively, for accurately predicting a serum CRP level ≥100 mg/L. Conclusions: Salivary CRP can be used in the pediatric acute setting due to its high specificity for predicting elevated serum levels without the need for venipuncture. Further studies are required to achieve higher sensitivity rates.What is known:• Salivary C-reactive protein has shown correlation to its serum counterpart, mainly in healthy children, adults, and ill neonates.What is new:• In a large population of children with acute respiratory illness, aged 2 months to 18 years, salivary C-reactive protein showed high specificity for predicting elevated serum levels, thus indicating its potential as a diagnostic tool.
- C-reactive protein