Serious disregard for infection control practices at a New Jersey outpatient clinic left dozens of patients with septic arthritis, many who required surgery to drain infected joints. Two staff physicians and 2 medical assistants had treated the patients for osteoarthritic knee pain with intra-articular injections of a glucocorticoid or a hyaluronic acid-based product.
Earlier this year the New Jersey Department of Health identified 41 cases of septic arthritis among 250 patients treated at the clinic during the first week of March. Cultures of their synovial fluid or knee tissue revealed the presence of at least 12 types of bacteria. The organisms included Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus oralis, Abiotrophia defectiva, Staphylococcus aureus, Actinomyces odontolyticus, and others that commonly are found in oral flora.
Lax Infection Control Consequences. JAMA. 2017;318(10):899. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11455