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Unusually Severe Cases of Kingella kingae Osteoarticular Infections in Children

Mallet, Cindy MD*; Ceroni, Dimitri MD; Litzelmann, Estelle MD*; Dubois-Ferriere, Victor MD; Lorrot, Mathie MD, PhD; Bonacorsi, Stéphane MD, PhD§; Mazda, Keyvan MD, PhD*; Ilharreborde, Brice MD, PhD*

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: January 2014 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 1–4
doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e3182a22cc6
Original Studies

Backgrounds: With the development of molecular biology and specific polymerase chain reaction, Kingella kingae has become the primary diagnosis of osteoarticular infections in young children. Clinical features of these osteoarticular infections are typically mild, and outcome is almost always favorable. We report a series of unusually severe cases of K. kingae osteoarticular infections.

Methods: All patients with severe osteoarticular infections at presentation were reviewed retrospectively in 2 European pediatric centers. K. kingae was identified using real-time polymerase chain reaction in blood, fluid joint or osseous samples. Clinical, laboratory tests and radiographic data during hospitalization and follow-up were analyzed.

Results: Ten children (mean age 21 ± 12 months) with severe osteoarticular infections caused by K. kingae were identified between 2008 and 2011. Diagnostic delay averaged 13.2 ± 8 days. Only 1 patient was febrile at admission, and 50% children had normal C-reactive protein values (≤10 mg/dL) at presentation. Surgical treatment was performed in all cases. Intravenous antibiotic therapy by cephalosporins for an average of 8 ± 6 days was followed by oral treatment for 27 ± 6 days. Mean follow-up was 24.8 ± 9 months, and satisfactory outcomes were reported in all cases. Two patients (20%) developed a central epiphysiodesis of the proximal humerus during follow-up, but without significant clinical consequence for the moment.

Conclusions: Because of their mild clinical features at onset, diagnosis of K. kingae osteoarticular infections can be delayed. Care should be taken for early detection and treatment of these infections because bony lytic lesions and potentially definitive growth cartilage damage can occur.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

From the *Pediatric Orthopedic Department, Robert Debré University Hospital, Paris, France; Pediatric Orthopedic Department, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; Pediatric Department; and §Microbiology Department, Robert Debré University Hospital, Paris, France.

Accepted for publication June 25, 2013.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (

Address for correspondence: Cindy Mallet, MD, Pediatric Orthopedic Department, Robert Debré University Hospital, 48 Boulevard Sérurier, 75019 Paris. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.