What are the most common causes of septic arthritis?

Updated: Sep 19, 2017
  • Author: John L Brusch, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Septic arthritis due to bacterial infections is commonly classified as either gonococcal or nongonococcal. [1, 2, 4, 5, 6] Overall, although Neisseria gonorrhoeae remains the most common pathogen (75% of cases) among younger sexually active individuals, [7, 8] Staphylococcus aureus infection is the cause of the vast majority of cases of acute bacterial arthritis in adults and in children older than 2 years. [9] The increased incidence of this pathogen parallels the increase in presence of prosthetic joints and in the use of immunosuppressive agents. This pathogen is the cause in 80% of infected joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

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