Osteomyelitis (pronounced: os-tee-oh-my-uh-LY-tus) is a bone infection often caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus . Depending on how the bone becomes infected and the age of the person, other types of bacteria can cause it, too. In kids and teens, osteomyelitis usually affects the long bones of the arms and legs. Vertebral osteomyelitis is a rare disease that counts for 2-5% of all cases of osteomyelitis, with an annual incidence of 0.4 to 2.4/100′000 among European population. Predisposing factors are intravenous drug use, immunosuppression, chronic illnesses and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Typically, vertebral osteomyelitis is a complication of bacterial endocarditis and septicemia.
Direct contamination associated with spinal surgery or epidural procedures appears to be of increasing importance among possible etiologies. According to observational studies, Staphylococcus aureus (20-84%) and Enterobactericeae (33%) are the most common pathogens, with anaerobes (3%) and fungi (1-2%) rarely involved; less than 10% are polimicrobial infections. Treatment of osteomyelitis depends on the severity of the infection and whether it is acute (recent) or chronic The doctor may use a needle to remove a bacteria sample from the bone to help identify the bacteria responsible for the infection. This is called needle aspiration. The doctor will then be able to choose the correct antibiotic to treat that particular infection.