- Children with bone and joint infections may already have the causative bacteria in their throat
- Children infected by Kingella kingae bacteria were younger than 4 years old
- New highly sensitive techniques developed can identify the bacteria Kingella kingae accurately
Children who have the bacteria Kingella kingae in their throat were found to be at the risk of developing bone and joint infection with the same bacterium, reveals a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Children suffering from bone and joint bacterial infections can lead to devastating effects on long-term mobility and can eventually result in death.
In previous studies, scientists thought that most of the infections caused were by Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Haemophilus influenza type b bacteria. The infections were then treated with long-term antibiotics and surgery.
Identifying Children Infected By Kingella kingae
The study was conducted between two pediatric centers in Canada and Switzerland. About 77 children aged six months to 4 years old were admitted for suspected bone or joint infection. There were about 286 children in the control group.
The results show that of the many suspected infections, nearly 65 children were found to have bone or joint infection.
Dr. Jocelyn Gravel, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec said that by using improved diagnostic methods, the research team was able to identify children infected by Kingella kingae bacteria, who were younger than four years old and suffered from a bone or joint infection.
Gravel said that the research team has discovered that 70 percent of children who had a bone and joint infection carried these bacteria in their throats, while it is uncommon in uninfected children (6 percent only).
The results of this study are important, as the proportion of unknown pathogen in previous studies was found to be very high.
The research team has now used the innovative methods for diagnosing and have demonstrated that this K. kingae was found to be the most common pathogen for bone and joint infection in children.
"Based on this study, we plan to change the way we investigate children at risk of bone and joint infection, as the identification of K. kingae in the throat of a child with a suspected bone infection will point towards K. kingae as the culprit, which may decrease the number of other tests performed to identify the pathogen," said Gravel.
The research team state that this is a small study and further research is required in other North American cities.
Bone and Joint Infections in Children
Children can develop infections in their bones or joints and are often referred to as "deep" infections.
Infections caused by bacteria are usually present in the standard living environment. The most common bacteria causing bone or joint infection in children is Staphylococcus aureus.
Bacteria can get into the body in various ways like circulating through the bloodstream until they reach a bone or joint. The bacteria then leaves the blood and gets multiplied either in the bone or the joint.
Most children will ultimately recover from deep infections after proper treatment. They are not likely to develop the same disease again.
- Jocelyn Gravel, et al. Association between oropharyngeal carriage of Kingella kingae and osteoarticular infection in young children: a case-control study. CMAJ (2017).