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17.01.2014, admin
Medicines such as paracetamol and aspirin help to relieve the symptoms of infectious diseases but they do not kill the pathogens. Most people are familiar with osteoarthritis a€“ the common a€?wear and teara€? arthritis that occurs over years of musculoskeletal stress and injury, and the source of many of the aches and pains we attribute to aging. Arthritis is a condition in which the joints of the body become swollen, tender and inflamed.
Bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus (a€?stapha€?) and streptococcus (a€?strepa€?) are the most common causes of infectious arthritis. Untreated Lyme disease, caused by a bacterium carried by the deer tick, can lead to infectious arthritis, as can untreated sexually transmitted diseases, particularly gonorrhea.
In addition to certain common bacteria, some viruses can also initiate arthritic disorders. People whose immune systems are already compromised by health conditions such as diabetes or sickle cell anemia may be at even greater-than-average risk of developing infectious arthritis. Health care providers typically diagnose bacterial arthritis by removing fluid from the affected joint through a needle, then culturing the fluid in the laboratory. Patients who are diagnosed with infectious arthritis of bacterial origin receive antibiotics a€“ usually intravenously at first, followed by oral medications. Since many cases of infectious arthritis begin with a skin injury, good wound care is essential to avoid future problems.


If not treated promptly and properly, infectious arthritis can destroy cartilage, which lines bone surfaces in the joint, acts as a shock absorber and helps the joint move smoothly. Another well-known ailment is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that usually affects several joints in the body at once. These bacteria can gain access to the body in various ways, for example through a cut or break in the skin or via an ear infection. Parvovirus, which causes the common childhood infection known as a€?fifth disease,a€? can cause infectious arthritis in children or adults.
Children who are affected may even refuse to walk if their leg, ankle or foot joints are involved. The fluid will grow staph, strep or another infectious agent, thereby identifying the cause of the inflammation.
Depending on the location of the joint and the severity of the inflammation, treatment might also include draining the joint of pus, particularly in the case of the hip, which is more sensitive to damage from inflammation.
In addition, there are ways to provide some degree protection from other sources of infection.
Eventually, the cartilage could break down completely and the inflammation would cause the bone itself to deteriorate. But there are actually about 100 types of arthritis and related disorders, many of which are caused by bacteria or viruses.


The infectious agent travels through the bloodstream and settles in a joint, where the bodya€™s own defense system a€“ the immune response a€“ fights against the intruder. While illness from parvovirus generally resolves without treatment, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to treat joint swelling and pain if infectious arthritis develops. In joints other than the hip or shoulder, swelling may be apparent, and the affected area might feel hot or look red. X-rays or similar imaging tests may also be used, primarily to rule out other causes of inflammation. Infectious arthritis caused by Lyme disease does not usually require joint drainage, and only oral antibiotics are necessary for treatment. Furthermore, the infection could spread to adjacent tissues or to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.
Nocton practices in the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, Department of Pediatrics, at Childrena€™s Hospital of Wisconsin, a Medical College affiliate.




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