Atypical causes of bacterial osteoarticular infections in immunocompetent children.
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Caring for a child with an osteoarticular infection or considering the possibility of an osteoarticular infection in a child is one of the most common clinical dilemmas encountered by clinicians caring for children. In such a scenario, one most often considers infection with frequently encountered pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae or Kingella kingae. A large variety of opportunistic osteoarticular pathogens may be found in the immunosuppressed patient or the postoperative or post-trauma patient, due to breaches in the immune system and nosocomial or post-traumatic exposure to multiple organisms. However, an enlarging spectrum of less commonly encountered bacterial pathogens is also increasingly appreciated in community-acquired osteoarticular infections in otherwise healthy children, particularly in this era of pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae serotype B immunization. Given the limitations of culture-based detection methods in osteoarticular infections and the potentially unique therapeutic and diagnostic approaches necessitated by some of these pathogens, an awareness of these infections is necessary for proper detection and management. This review will discuss less commonly encountered bacterial osteoarticular pathogens that may infect otherwise healthy children, with emphasis on the epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of each.