Bacterial aetiology of acute osteoarticular infections in children

Acta Paediatr. 2005 Apr;94(4):419-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2005.tb01911.x.


Aim: To study the bacterial aetiology of acute osteoarticular infections in children and to analyse the efficiency of culture methods.

Methods: Bacteriological data of 407 cases of clinically suspected osteoarticular infections affecting 406 children hospitalized in an orthopaedic surgery department between 1999 and 2002 were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: Bacterial cultures from clinical specimens were positive in 74 cases (18%): 38 cases of septic arthritis and 36 cases of bone infections (osteitis, osteomyelitis or osteoarthritis). The use of liquid medium bottles to grow bacteria from articular fluids increased the rate of positive cultures compared to the use of standard solid media (p = 0.0001). The most commonly recovered pathogen was Staphylococcus aureus (44%) followed by Kingella kingae (14%), Streptococcus pyogenes (10%) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (10%). K. kingae was most frequently isolated among children under 36 mo of age (p = 0.0003), whereas S. aureus was most frequently isolated among children over 36 mo (p = 0.0015).

Conclusion: By improving our culture method, we observed a recrudescence of isolation of K. kingae, but S. aureus remains the main pathogen isolated from osteoarticular infections in children. This finding is useful for the adaptation of a probabilistic antibiotic treatment of these infections.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Infectious / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Bone Diseases / microbiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kingella kingae / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Osteitis / microbiology
  • Osteoarthritis / microbiology
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / isolation & purification