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Trop Doct. 2009 Apr;39(2):88-90. doi: 10.1258/td.2008.080042.

False negative serological tests may lead to misdiagnosis and mismanagement in osteoarticular brucellosis.

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Department of Orthopedics, Shahid Behesti Hospital, Babol Medical University, Babol, Iran.


Non-specific clinical presentations and paraclinical findings in osteoarticular brucellosis may mimic many other diseases and other causes of arthritis which could lead to misdiagnosis and mismanagement. We studied retrospectively the records of 232 patients with osteoarticular brucellosis who were admitted to the three teaching hospitals of Babol Medical Sciences University from April 2001 to September 2006. The distribution of osteoarticular involvement and their management were evaluated to determine if any cases had been misdiagnosed because of false negative serologic tests and who had, as a result, undergone inappropriate surgical interventions. Of 232 patients, 138 (59%) were male and 94 (41%) were female. Polyarthritis, monoarthritis, spondylitis and sacroilitis were seen in 91 (39%), 60 (26%), 43 (18.5%) and 38 (16.5%) patients, respectively. Two hundred and twenty-nine (98.7%) patients were diagnosed correctly and treated successfully; three (1.3%) were misdiagnosed and had been given inappropriate surgical interventions. Of these three patients, two (3.3%) were suffering from monoarthritis (hip joint) and one (2.3%) had spondylitis.

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