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Thirty-four children under the age of 3 years with septic arthritis presented to Mukinge Hospital between 1 January 1992 and 31 March 1993. Twenty-six of these cultured Salmonella spp. The salmonella group comprised 17 males and 9 females with an average age of 10 months. Most patients were anaemic and all were under 50th centile for weight. The commonest presentation was swelling, pyrexia and non-use of the limb. The mean white cell count (WBC) was 14,000/mm3 and the mean erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was 15.8 mm/h, but in many cases both the WBC and ESR were normal. All patients were treated with drainage and antibiotics. All made a good recovery and were discharged pain free, apyrexial and using the affected joint. One patient was readmitted because of recurrent infection. Nine patients reviewed after 1 month had continued good function. We consider that malnutrition and local trauma are predisposing factors to the development of salmonella septic arthritis in a population where salmonella is endemic.

Original publication




Journal article


Trop doct

Publication Date





163 - 166


Arthritis, Infectious, Causality, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Infant, Male, Nutritional Status, Rural Health, Salmonella Infections, Treatment Outcome, Zambia