Real-Time PCR Assay for Detection of Kingella kingae in Children

Theresa Madigan, Scott A. Cunningham, Poornima Ramanan, Micah M. Bhatti, Robin Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Kingella kingae is a known cause of osteoarticular infections in children younger than 4 years of age, but it is not always recoverable in culture. Molecular methods are increasingly used for diagnosis. Methods To facilitate diagnosis of K. kingae septic arthritis, we developed a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the detection of K. kingae that targets the repeat-in-toxin gene (rtxB). Results We present three pediatric patients with K. kingae septic arthritis at our institution who were diagnosed using the real-time PCR assay. All underwent arthrotomy with irrigation and debridement and were symptom-free after 3 weeks of therapy with β-lactam antibiotics. Cultures of synovial fluid or tissue grew K. kingae in two of three; K. kingae real-time PCR was positive in all three patients. In addition, 11 cases of K. kingae osteoarticular infection were diagnosed through Mayo Medical Laboratories using this assay. The limit of detection of the real-time PCR assay was 73.7 colony-forming unit (CFU)/μL for tissue and 1.3 CFU/μL for synovial fluid. Conclusions PCR-based detection methods are faster and more sensitive than conventional culture-based methods for the diagnosis of K. kingae osteoarticular infections in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-223
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018


  • Kingella kingae
  • children
  • real-time PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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