An analysis of 47 episodes of bacterial arthritis showed that applying a blood culture procedure to the culture of joint fluids gave positive results in 10 cases (21%) that were negative by conventional methods. When follow up samples taken during antibiotic treatment were considered the proportion of false negatives eliminated rose to 40%. The respective advantages of using a large volume of inoculum and a large volume of medium are that very low numbers of viable bacteria in infected fluid can be detected, and that growth inhibitors are diluted.
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