Patients with sickle cell disease are more susceptible to acute anaerobic osteomyelitis due to focal gut mucosal ischaemia, translocation of bacteria, and seeding in infarcted bone marrow. Modulation of the immune system is also present. The isolation of anaerobic organisms requires a high index of suspicion, correct specimen collection procedures and meticulous specimen handling. Bacteroides is the predominant organism isolated. Intra-osseous gas in the bone may be seen within four days and radiographs are therefore useful earlier than with aerobic osteomyelitis. Surgical débridement and intravenous antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment with the erythrocyte sedimentation rate being relied on heavily to guide conversion to oral antibiotics. Coexistence of septic arthritis is more common with anaerobic osteomyelitis.
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