Streptococcus pneumoniae Septic Arthritis in adults in Bristol and Bath, United Kingdom, 2006-2018: a 13-year retrospective observational cohort study

Catherine Hyams*, Zahin Amin-Chowdhury, Norman K Fry, Paul North, Adam Finn, Andrew Judge, Shamez Ladhani, O Martin Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

67 Downloads (Pure)


Few studies on adult pneumococcal septic arthritis are sufficiently large enough to assess both epidemiological trends following routine pneumococcal immunization and clinical disease. With major shifts in serotypes causing invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), we wanted to determine the clinical phenotype of adult septic arthritis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of pneumococcal infections in Bristol and Bath, UK, 2006-2018. We defined pneumococcal septic arthritis as adults with clinically-confirmed septic arthritis, with pneumococcus isolated from sterile-site culture or urinary antigen test positivity. Clinical records were reviewed for each patient in the cohort.
Septic arthritis accounted for 1.7% of all IPD cases. 45 cases of adult pneumococcal septic arthritis occurred, with disease typically affecting older adults and those with underlying comorbidity. 67% patients had another focus of infection during their illness. 66% patients required increased care on discharge and 43% had reduced range of movement. In-hospital case fatality rate was 6.7%. One-year patient mortality was 31%.
Currently most cases of adult pneumococcal septic arthritis are due to non-PCV13 serotypes which are associated with more severe disease. PCV13 serotypes had higher prevalence of concomitant pneumococcal infection at another site (36.6% versus 73.7%), increased intensive care or high-dependency unit requirement (0% versus 32.4%), and higher inpatient and 1-year case fatality rate (0% versus 8.8%, and 27.3% versus 32.4% respectively) compared to non-PCV13 serotypes.
Pneumococcal septic arthritis remains a small proportion of IPD. However, there is significant associated morbidity and mortality, and pneumococcal septic arthritis requires monitoring in coming years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1377
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Microbes and Infection
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
CH is Principal Investigator of the Avon CAP study which is an investigator-led University of Bristol study funded by Pfizer and has previously received support from the NIHR in an Academic Clinical Fellowship. AF is a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) and chair of the World Health Organization European Technical Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (ETAGE) committee. In addition to receiving funding from Pfizer as Chief Investigator of this study, he leads another project investigating transmission of respiratory bacteria in families jointly funded by Pfizer and the Gates Foundation. The other authors have no relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Funding Information:
CH was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF-2015-25-002]. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • pneumococcus
  • streptococcus pneumoniae
  • septic arthritis
  • PCV-13
  • pneumococcal vaccines


Dive into the research topics of 'Streptococcus pneumoniae Septic Arthritis in adults in Bristol and Bath, United Kingdom, 2006-2018: a 13-year retrospective observational cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this