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Septic Arthritis

Septic arthritis is the proliferation of bacteria in joints and resultant inflammation. Bacteria are either carried by the bloodstream from an infectious focus elsewhere or are introduced by a skin lesion that penetrates the joint.

Septic arthritis should be suspected when one joint (monoarthritis) is affected and the patient is febrile. In seeding arthritis, several joints can be affected simultaneously; this is especially the case when the infection is caused by staphylococcus or gonococcus bacteria.

Diagnosis is by aspiration, Gram stain and culture of fluid from the joint, as well as telltale signs in laboratory testing (such as a highly elevated ESR or CRP). Therapy is usually with intravenous antibiotics.

Posted by Staff at May 15, 2005 2:51 PM

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