Invasive kingella kingae infections in children: Clinical and laboratory characteristics

Gal Dubnov-Raz*, Oded Scheuerman, Gabriel Chodick, Yaron Finkelstein, Zmira Samra, Ben Zion Garty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE. Kingella kingae, a Gram-negative coccobacillus, is being increasingly recognized as an invasive pathogen in children, causing mainly bacteremia and arthritis; however, there have been only a few studies on K kingae infections to date, mostly small-scale series. The aim of this study was to report our experience with invasive K kingae infections in children who were hospitalized at a major tertiary medical center in Israel. METHODS. The medical charts of 62 children with proven invasive K kingae infections were reviewed: 42 with positive blood culture results and 20 with positive synovial fluid culture results. RESULTS. Most infections occurred among previously healthy children aged 5 to 22 months. Eighty percent had a mild concurrent illness of the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract. A chronic underlying disease was documented in 19% of the 1-to 15-year-old children with bacteremia. Three patients had persistent bacteremia, identified by 2 positive blood cultures drawn 1 to 4 days apart. Four (10%) patients from the bacteremia group had endocarditis, and 2 required emergency cardiac surgery. Only a mild-to-moderate elevation of serum inflammatory markers was noted except for patients with endocarditis or a prolonged course of arthritis. Patients with bacteremia received a diagnosis significantly later than those with arthritis, with no other between-group differences in age, month of disease onset, and inflammatory marker levels. All K kingae isolates were resistant to vancomycin and clindamycin. CONCLUSIONS. Our large series indicates that invasive K kingae infections occur in previously healthy children, mostly during the first 2 years of life;affected older children usually have an underlying medical condition. The infection generally elicits only a mild inflammatory response unless accompanied by endocarditis. Despite its low virulence, K kingae might cause a life-threatening heart disease that requires emergent, aggressive treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1309
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Arthritis
  • Bacteremia
  • Children
  • Endocarditis
  • Kingella


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