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Association between oropharyngeal carriage of Kingella kingae and osteoarticular infection in young children: a case-control study [Research]


Kingella kingae has been increasingly identified in patients with osteoarticular infections. Our main objective was to evaluate the association between carriage of K. kingae in the oropharynx of preschool children and osteoarticular infections.


We conducted this prospective case–control study in 2 tertiary care pediatric hospitals (Canada and Switzerland) between 2014 and 2016. Potential cases were children aged 6 to 48 months with a presumptive diagnosis of osteoarticular infection according to the treating emergency physician. Confirmed cases were those with diagnosis of osteomyelitis or septic arthritis proven by positive findings on technetium-labelled bone scan or magnetic resonance imaging or identification of a microorganism in joint aspirate or blood. For each case, we recruited 4 age-matched controls from among children presenting to the same emergency department for trauma. The independent variable was presence of oropharyngeal K. kingae DNA identified by a specific polymerase chain reaction assay. We determined the association between oropharyngeal carriage of K. kingae and definitive osteoarticular infection.


The parents of 77 children admitted for suspected osteoarticular infection and 286 controls were invited to participate and provided informed consent. We identified K. kingae in the oropharynx of 46 (71%) of 65 confirmed cases and 17 (6%) of 286 controls; these results yielded an odds ratio of 38.3 (95% confidence interval 18.5–79.1).


Detection of oropharyngeal K. kingae was strongly associated with osteoarticular infection among children presenting with symptoms suggestive of such infection.