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Osteoarticular infections in Belgian children: a survey of clinical, biological, radiological and microbiological data.

The aim of this study is to report the pathogens which were found most frequently to be responsible for osteo-articular infections in infants and children in Belgium, and to propose an appropriate empirical antibiotic therapy applicable before identification of the responsible pathogen. Clinical presentation, imaging and blood biology are also reviewed and analysed. Fifty-six cases of osteo-articular infections (acute/subacute osteomyelitis, osteo-arthritis, septic arthritis, spondylodiscitis, sacro-iliitis) treated between 2001 and 2007 were retrospectively reviewed, focusing on clinical, biological, microbiological and radiological data. Septic arthritis, acute osteomyelitis, septic osteoarthritis and sacro-iliitis often have a loud clinical (fever, pain, inflammatory signs) and biological presentation. Subacute osteomyelitis and spondylodiscitis are almost asymptomatic, but for functional impairment. The responsible pathogen was isolated in 38% of the cases. The most frequent pathogen was Staphylococcus Aureus, followed by Pneumococcus, Streptococcus A and B, Kingella Kingae, and Haemophilus. None of them were resistant to usual antibiotics. Functional impairment is the only constant symptom of osteo-articular infections. Other clinical and biological symptoms may be absent, making diagnosis often difficult. We recommend oxacillin (> 5 years) or a combination of oxacillin with cefotaxime (< 5 years) in the empirical treatment of osteo-articular infection, and a total of 4 weeks of treatment.

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