Arthritis Home > Infectious Arthritis Causes

When it comes to infectious arthritis, causes of the condition may be bacterial, viral, or fungal. It may be caused by infections with Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Escherichia coli, or other types of bacteria. Other causes include viral diseases, such as hepatitis B, chickenpox, mumps, and HIV/AIDS. In some instances of infectious arthritis, fungal diseases such as histoplasmosis are involved.

What Causes Infectious Arthritis?

Infectious arthritis is a general term used to describe forms of arthritis caused by an infection. For the purposes of this article, we will separate possible infectious arthritis causes into the following categories:
  • Bacterial
  • Viral
  • Fungal.
Bacterial Causes
Possible bacterial causes of infectious arthritis may include:
  • Staphylococcus aureus (in infants, children, and adults)
  • Group B streptococcus (in infants)
  • Haemophilus influenzae (in children)
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae (the bacteria that cause gonorrhea -- most often seen in young adults)
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis (in people with artificial hips and knees)
  • Gram-negative bacilli (a group of bacteria, including Escherichia coli, or E. coli)
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa (in intravenous drug addicts and neonates).
Other possible bacterial causes include:
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, or TB)
  • Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacteria that cause Lyme disease)
  • Treponema pallidum (the bacteria that cause syphilis).
Viral Causes
Certain diseases caused by a virus can lead to infectious arthritis. These diseases include:
Fungal Causes
There are a number of fungal infections that can cause infectious arthritis. These include:
  • Candidiasis
  • Blastomycosis
  • Coccidioidomycosis
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Cryptococcosis.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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