Objective: To determine the frequency and clinical characteristics of osteoarticular complications of brucellosis in an endemic region in Iran.
Methods: In a prospective study we evaluated 245 patients with brucellosis diagnosed between January 2004 and December 2005. Patients included were those older than 8 years of age and who had clinical features suggestive of brucellosis and specific antibodies at significant titers, and/or positive blood or body fluid culture for Brucella species. A bone scan was performed in those with a clinical suspicion of osteoarticular involvement.
Results: Seventy patients (28.6%) had osteoarticular complications. Sacroiliitis was the most common complication (75.7%), followed by spondylitis (21.4%) and peripheral arthritis (8.6%). Spondylitis was the most common osteoarticular complication in the elderly. Relapses occurred in five (2%) patients, three of them with spondylitis.
Conclusions: Osteoarticular disease is the most common complication of brucellosis in Western Iran. Sacroiliitis is the most common form of osteoarticular complication. With the use of a proper treatment regimen, the prospect for recovery is good.