Kingella kingae is an emergent pathogen causing septic arthritis (SA) in children.
The objective of this study was to analyze the etiology of SA in children before and after the implementation of universal 16S rRNA gene polymerase chain reaction and sequencing (16SPCR) in synovial fluid.
Children ≤14 years with acute SA from a Madrid cohort (2002–2013) were reviewed. Differences in etiology were analyzed before (period 1) and after (period 2) the implementation of bacterial 16SPCR in 2009. A comparison in epidemiology, clinical syndromes, therapy and outcome between infections caused by K. kingae and other bacteria was performed.
Bacteria were detected from 40/81 (49.4%) children, with a higher proportion of diagnosis after 16SPCR establishment (period 2, 63% vs. period 1, 31.4%; P = 0.005). The main etiologies were Staphylococcus aureus (37.5%) and K. kingae (35%), although K. kingae was the most common microorganism in P2 (48.3%). Children with K. kingae SA were less likely to be younger than 3 months (0 vs. 42.3%; P < 0.001), had less anemia (21.4 vs. 50%; P = 0.010), lower C-reactive protein (3.8 vs. 8.9 mg/dL; P = 0.039), less associated osteomyelitis (0 vs. 26.9%; P = 0.033), shorter intravenous therapy (6 vs. 15 days; P < 0.001), and had a nonsignificant lower rate of sequelae (0 vs. 30%; P = 0.15) than children with SA caused by other bacteria. However, they tended to have higher rate of fever (86 vs. 57%; P = 0.083).
K. kingae was frequently recovered in children with SA after the implementation of bacterial 16SPCR, producing a milder clinical syndrome and better outcome. Therefore, the use of molecular techniques may be important for the management of these children.