Bone infections may occur in any bone. However, there is a predisposition for the long bones. Bone infections are usually caused by bacteria, but may be due to fungi or parasites. These micro-organisms gain entry to the bone both directly or indirectly via blood. Bone infections may be acute or chronic.
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The symptoms of bone infections vary according to the site of infection and the age of the affected person. In the aged and those who are immune-suppressed symptoms may be mild and, as a result, are often missed. Below you will find some of the symptoms of bone infections.
Symptoms in infants include:
Symptoms in adults include:
Bone infections arise when microorganisms gain access to the bone, multiply and result in clinical signs and symptoms. These microorganisms include:
These microorganisms seed in the bone through various routes:
Factors that increase the predisposition to bone infection are diabetes, immunosuppressive drugs, trauma, malnutrition, immune deficiency and general debilitating conditions.
The diagnosis of bone infection is primarily based on the presenting clinical signs and symptoms. However both radiographic imaging and laboratory investigations may be employed to confirm the diagnosis. Examples of diagnostic imaging used are:
Laboratory investigations use a sample of fluid or pus aspirated from the bone abscess and examining under the microscope to visualize the causative micro-organisms. The sample is also tested for drug sensitivity. In addition, a blood sample is taken to detect a rise in inflammatory markers such as white blood cells, C-reactive protein and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate.
The treatment of bone infection entails the following fundamental aspects:
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