Septic arthritis, also known as infectious arthritis, is the intrusion of a joint by a pathogenic agent that produces arthritis. The usual cause of the disease is bacteria; however, fungal, mycobacterial, and viral arthritis also occurs occasionally. The bloodstream transmits the bacteria from a contaminated area to another place. The bacteria enter through a skin lesion, which penetrates the joint. They may enter by the extension from neighboring tissue (for example, bone or bursae).
The microorganisms reach the synovial membrane of the joints by diffusion of the pathogens through blood – from abscesses or wound contagions; diffusion of the pathogens from an acute osteomyelitic area; diffusion of the pathogens from contiguous soft tissue infection; entry through penetrating trauma, and entry by induced means.
The bacteria that usually cause septic arthritis are Staphylococcus aureus, which is the commonest cause in adults; Haemophilus influenzae, which is the commonest cause in children; Neisseria gonorrhoea, which causes the disease in young adults; and E. coli causes the disease in the elderly, IV-drug consumers, and those who are seriously ill. The bacteria like Brucella spp., Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Salmonella spp. are the causative agents of septic spinal arthritis. Pseudomonas aeruginosa infects joints and also causes endocarditis, particularly in children who are sustaining a puncture wound. Usually, the bacteria like Streptococcus pneumoniae, group B streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus, or gonococci cause the acute type of the disease. Occasionally, the pathogens that cause HIV, hepatitis B, Lyme arthritis, mumps, or rubella can get into and infect a joint. Chronic septic arthritis is rarer and the microorganisms like M. tuberculosis and Candida albicans are causing it.
The condition of septic arthritis is typically acute, which causes inflammation, redness, severe joint pain, and in some individuals chills and fever; however, it may be chronic in some cases. The disease may affect any of the joints; however, it is very common in elbow, finger joints, hip, knee, shoulder, and wrist. The disease occurs very often in the individuals who have had recently a traumatic wound to a joint, have had surgery in joint or joint replacement, and / or in people who recently have a blood infection (for example, bacteremia or septicemia). The additional risk factors for the disease include age (normally more than 80 years), having diabetes, a diminished immune system, and / or other conditions that affect the joints, like gouty or rheumatoid arthritis.
This illness requires prompt diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics because it can affect and destroy the joints in a short period. The initial antibiotics must be administered intravenously to make sure that the infected joint gets medicine to destroy the bacteria as rapidly as possible. Subsequently, the following course of antibiotics can be administered orally. The fluid need to be drained from the septic joints if it quickly reaccumulates and persuades symptoms.