Kingella kingae: from medical rarity to an emerging paediatric pathogen

Lancet Infect Dis. 2004 Jun;4(6):358-67. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(04)01046-1.


In recent years, Kingella kingae has emerged as an important cause of invasive infections in young children, especially septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, spondylodiscitis, bacteraemia, and endocarditis, and less frequently lower respiratory tract infections and meningitis. The organism is part of the pharyngeal flora of young children and is transmitted from child-to-child. The clinical presentation of invasive K kingae disease is often subtle and laboratory tests are frequently normal. A substantial fraction of children with invasive K kingae infections have a recent history of stomatitis or symptoms of upper-respiratory-tract infection. The organism is susceptible to a wide array of antibiotics that are usually given empirically to young children including beta lactams, and with the exception of cases of endocarditis, the disease runs a benign clinical course. Although isolation and recognition of the organism is not difficult, clinicians and microbiologists should be aware of its fastidious nature. To optimise the recovery of K kingae, inoculation of synovial fluid specimens into blood culture vials is strongly recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Infectious / microbiology
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kingella kingae / pathogenicity*
  • Male
  • Neisseriaceae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Neisseriaceae Infections / microbiology*
  • Synovial Fluid / microbiology