Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 888
Title: The use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection and speciation of a bacterial bone and joint infection in children
Author: K. Song, K. Boatright, J. Engebretson, W. B. Nilsson, M. S. Strom, J. Burns, W. Bevan
Publication Year: 2009
Journal: Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Volume: 29
Issue: 2
Pages: 182-188
Keywords: Pediatric, infection, PCR, diagnosis, Osteomyelitis, septic arthritis
Abstract: We evaluated 36 consecutive patients presenting with signs and symptoms of bacterial bone and joint infection and 10 control patients using bacterial cultures of blood and the presumed site of infection compared with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques using a universal primer and restriction endonuclease digestion. Of the 28 patients with definitive clinical and/or laboratory evidence of bacterial infection, 16 patients had positive bacterial cultures and 12 were PCR-positive. Twenty of 28 patients were either PCR- or culture-positive. Nine of the 16 subjects who had culture-positive samples also had PCR-positive samples (8 positive for the same organism and 1 with 2 organisms identified by culture, but only a single organism by PCR. Six culture positive patients were PCR-negative. Of the 12 patients who were culture-negative, 4 had bacterial genomic material present indicating infection. We conclude that current PCR methods are not superior to standard bacterial culture methods when applied to children with presumed bone or joint infections, but that PCR may complement existing microbiologic cultures for detection of bone and joint infections in children.