The findings in 40 children (24 female, 16 male) with osteoarticular complications of brucellosis are presented. Raw milk was the main source of infection. Most patients had acute onset of fever, arthralgia, and myalgia. Arthritis was the presenting symptom in all patients, of whom two also had osteomyelitis. Arthritis was monoarticular in 28 (70%) of 40 cases with predilection for large weight-bearing joints. Spine and small joints were spared. Brucella melitensis was detected in 23/31 (74%) cases. Mild anaemia, leucopenia, increased liver enzymes, positive acute phase reactants, and low titres of autoantibodies were prominent non-specific laboratory findings. Bone scintigraphy was more helpful than conventional radiography in detecting hip and sacroiliac joint disease. Treatment with a combination of antibiotics for six weeks or more resulted in a cure rate of 92.5%. Early recognition of infection, prolonged treatment, and long term follow up should improve the outcome of patients.
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