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Septic Arthritis in Children: Updated Epidemiologic, Microbiologic, Clinical and Therapeutic Correlations

Eugen Cohen, Tiberiu Katz, Eldad Rahamim, Shlomi Bulkowstein, Yaron Weisel, Ron Leibovitz, Yariv Fruchtman, Eugene Leibovitz


Septic arthritis (SA) is an infection characterized by significant epidemiologic and microbiologic differences between developed and developing regions and between age groups.


To determine the epidemiologic, clinical, microbiologic and therapeutic aspects of pediatric SA in Southern Israel.


A retrospective case-series study based on the records of children <16 years of age admitted with SA at Soroka Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, during 2006 ̶ 2013.


189 patients were enrolled. There were 119 (63%) Bedouin and 70 (37%) Jewish children. The knee (39.7%), hip (28%) and ankle (13.8%) were the most commonly involved joints. Blood and/or synovial fluid cultures were positive in 48 (25.4%) patients. Overall SA incidence among children <16 years and <5 years was 11.7 and 25.4/100,000, respectively, without changes throughout the study period. SA incidence among Bedouin children was higher than among Jewish children (15.4 vs. 8.3/100,000 cases). Staphylococcus aureus was the most commonly isolated pathogen (18, 19.5% of all patients), followed by Kingella kingae (10, 5.3%) ̶ (37.5% and 20.8% among culture-positive patients, respectively). The number of children with culture-positive SA that required surgery was higher than those with culture-positive SA treated conservatively (P <0.001). Hospitalization was longer in children treated surgically than in those treated conservatively (P <0.001).


This study is the largest single-center series on pediatric SA published in the last five years and provided an updated picture on incidence and the microbiologic, clinical and therapeutic aspects of pediatric SA in Southern Israel. The study supports a regional presentation pattern of SA and may guide its therapeutic management.

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DOU:  10.1016/j.pedneo.2020.02.006