Vertebral osteomyelitis caused by Campylobacter jejuni in an immunocompetent patient

Karina Frahm Kirk, Jeppe Boel, Hans Linde Nielsen*


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BACKGROUND: Campylobacter jejuni is the leading cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide. However, systemic infection with C. jejuni is uncommon, and osteomyelitis caused by C. jejuni is extremely rare. Cultivation from spinal bone biopsies has not previously been reported in the literature.

CASE PRESENTATION: A 79-year-old immunocompetent male was admitted to the emergency department at Aalborg University Hospital in Denmark with lower back pain, fever and diarrhoea. A FecalSwab obtained upon admission was PCR-positive for Campylobacter spp, while an aerobic blood culture bottle was positive for C. jejuni (Time to detection: 70.4 h). A MRI of columna totalis showed osteomyelitis at L1/L2 with an epidural abscess from L1 to L2 with compression of the dura sack. The patient underwent spinal surgery with spondylodesis and decompression of L1/L2. The surgery was uncomplicated and the discus material was also culture positive for C. jejuni. The patient was treated with meropenem for a total duration of four weeks, followed by four weeks of oral treatment with clindamycin in tapered dosage. The patient recovered quickly following surgery and targeted antibiotic treatment with decreasing lumbar pain and biochemical response and was fully recovered at follow-up three months after end of treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: While C. jejuni osteomyelitis is rare, it should still be suspected as a possible causative bacterial aetiology in patients with vertebral osteomyelitis, in particular when symptoms of diarrhoea is involved in the clinical presentation. Susceptibility testing is crucial due to emerging resistance, and targeted treatment strategies should rely upon such tests.

TidsskriftGut Pathogens
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2023

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© 2023. The Author(s).


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