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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Aug;31(1):43-51.

Acute bacterial arthritis caused by group C streptococci.

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  • 1Rheumatology Division and Microbiology Section, Hospital Sierrallana, Torrelavega, Cantabria, Spain.



To summarize the characteristics of and clinical experience with joint infection by group C streptococcus.


Two new cases of acute bacterial arthritis due to group C streptococci are reported, and a MEDLINE search was performed, which located 22 additional cases.


Mean age (+/- standard deviation) of all 24 patients was 46 +/- 25 years, and most patients were men (75%). The species most frequently identified was Streptococcus equisimilis (12 cases). Eight patients (33%) had a general risk factor for infection, and the same percentage had some type of arthropathy. Only 3 patients had previous contact with animals. The infection was polyarticular in a third of cases, and the joint most frequently involved was the knee. The majority of patients showed a good response to the treatment with intravenous penicillin. However, 3 patients had functional sequelae, 2 more had residual radiological lesions, and 3 died.


Acute bacterial arthritis due to group C streptococci is a serious but uncommon entity that can affect patients without risk factors. Rapid diagnosis and treatment may improve the outcome. Semin Arthritis Rheum 31:43-51.

Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company

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