Septic arthritis is a condition in which the joints, especially the hips, knees, and ankles are attacked by microorganisms, causing the destruction of cartilage and bone. It can be caused by microorganisms in the bloodstream or entering through penetrating wounds.
In children, this disease is commonly accompanied by acute osteomyelitis. In the past, it has occurred in eight cases per 100,000 children per year, especially in children under five years of age. Recently, however, the number of cases has increased. This is thought to be because of the increase in antibiotic-resistant strains.
Several bacteria can cause the condition including — most commonly in newborns — Staphylococcus aureus. E. coli and group B streptococci also infect the very young. Older children are affected by Haemophilus influenzae type B, as well as S. aureus, which is common at every age.
In older, sexually active young people, Neisseria gonorrhea is a suspected cause. Salmonella and Candida are other sources.
Early diagnosis and treatment are critical due to the dangers of this infection. Typical treatment includes antibiotics including oxacillin, gentamicin, nafcillin, and cephalosporin.
Surgery may also be necessary, for both exact diagnosis and to drain and treat the infection.