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Rare case of osteomyelitis caused by Gardnerella vaginalis and Streptococcus parasanguinis in a postmenopausal woman

Abstract

Vertebral osteomyelitis is an infection of the vertebrae that can lead to spinal degeneration, most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Here, we report an unusual case of pyogenic osteomyelitis caused by Gardnerella vaginalis and Streptococcus parasanguinis in a 61-year-old postmenopausal woman. The patient presented with a 2-week history of worsening lower back pain and fever and a recent episode of cystitis following re-engagement of sexual activity. Imaging revealed a deterioration of vertebrae discs and spinal canal stenosis at the L3-L4 levels with a formation of abscess in the right psoas muscle. Needle aspiration of the abscess identified G. vaginalis and S. parasanguinis and the patient was successfully treated with a 6-week course of ceftriaxone and metronidazole. This case describes an unusual coinfection of two pathogens that normally reside in the urogenital tract and oral cavity, respectively, and highlights the risk posed when these organisms breach the body’s normal barriers.

  • bone and joint infections
  • sexual health

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