Staphylococcal Osteomyelitis: Disease Progression, Treatment Challenges, and Future Directions

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2018 Feb 14;31(2):e00084-17. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00084-17. Print 2018 Apr.


Osteomyelitis is an inflammatory bone disease that is caused by an infecting microorganism and leads to progressive bone destruction and loss. The most common causative species are the usually commensal staphylococci, with Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis responsible for the majority of cases. Staphylococcal infections are becoming an increasing global concern, partially due to the resistance mechanisms developed by staphylococci to evade the host immune system and antibiotic treatment. In addition to the ability of staphylococci to withstand treatment, surgical intervention in an effort to remove necrotic and infected bone further exacerbates patient impairment. Despite the advances in current health care, osteomyelitis is now a major clinical challenge, with recurrent and persistent infections occurring in approximately 40% of patients. This review aims to provide information about staphylococcus-induced bone infection, covering the clinical presentation and diagnosis of osteomyelitis, pathophysiology and complications of osteomyelitis, and future avenues that are being explored to treat osteomyelitis.

Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; Staphylococcus epidermidis; antibiotic; joint infections; nonantibiotic; osteomyelitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Osteomyelitis / drug therapy*
  • Osteomyelitis / pathology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / pathology*
  • Staphylococcus / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents