Kingella kingae infections in children

Nicola Principi, Susanna Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Improvements in culture techniques and molecular detection methods have led to findings indicating that, particularly in infants and young children, Kingella kingae is a significantly more important pathogen than previously thought. However, despite this, the pediatric community is still largely unaware of the existence of this organism. The aim of this review is therefore to summarise current knowledge of the epidemiology, transmission, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of K. kingae infections in children. Discussion: K. kingae is a common coloniser of the oropharynx, can be transmitted from child to child, and can cause outbreaks of infection. Invasive infections almost exclusively occur in children aged between six months and four years of age, and involve mainly joints and bone, less frequently the endocardium, and very rarely other localisations. With the exception of bacteremia and endocarditis, which can be followed by severe complications, the diseases due to K. kingae are usually accompanied by mild to moderate clinical signs and symptoms, and only slightly altered laboratory data. Moreover, they generally respond to widely used antibiotics, although resistant strains are reported. However, the mild symptoms and limited increase in the levels of acute phase reactants create problems because K. kingae disease may be confused with other clinical conditions that have a similar clinical picture. Conclusions: Although K. kingae was identified more than 50 years ago, it is poorly known by pediatricians and is not systematically sought in laboratories. Education is therefore necessary in order to reduce the risk of outbreaks, permit the early identification of K. kingae infections, and allow the prompt prescription of adequate therapeutic regimens capable of avoiding the risk of a negative evolution in those cases in which this elusive pathogen can cause significant clinical problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number260
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 7 2015


  • Children
  • Emerging infection
  • Kingella kingae
  • Pediatric infectious disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Kingella kingae infections in children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this