Clostridium difficile, also known as C. Diff is caused by bacteria in the body that goes bad and affects many different parts of the body, usually beginning with the digestive tract. Occasionally the bacteria formed by C. Diff ends up affecting the joints and becomes reactive arthritis. Reactive arthritis can make knees, ankles, toes, fingers, and many other areas of the body very painful. Usually it affects young adults and middle aged adults up to age 50, but children can also develop reactive arthritis. Unfortunately, when children develop reactive arthritis, it often goes misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed, according to new research.
JAMA Pediatrics recently reported research that shows just how difficult it can be for medical professionals to identify whether a child has reactive arthritis because of C. Diff. About 1 percent of children that have C. Diff end up developing reactive arthritis, and the epidemiology of both conditions aren’t entirely understood. Because of the rarity of these problems and difficulty in understanding both conditions, an estimated 65% of children who develop reactive arthritis won’t be diagnosed by medical professionals for it. This condition is often misdiagnosed as septic arthritis, which requires surgical drainage. This procedure doesn’t solve the child’s bacterial problem, allowing it to continue to grow until the C. Diff leads to more serious health issues.
Reactive Arthritis Suffering Children Often Underdiagnosed
Gordon & Doner know that when a child has reactive arthritis but it isn’t uncovered by medical professionals, it can be a very costly and risky problem. Medical professionals might try to use harmful interventions in order to solve the problems associated with reactive arthritis when it isn’t understood. Usually children with reactive arthritis visit emergency care, when symptoms are at their worst and the needed treatment isn’t given – allowing the C. Diff to develop into a more serious problem. Researchers hope that exposing this problem to the medical community will help physicians accurately diagnose the problem in the future.