This paper reports evidence of B. henselae infection found in the blood, the head of the femoral bone, and synovium in a patient’s hip joint replaced due to severe end-stage degenerative osteoarthritis.
The authors propose that osteoarthritis of the hip (and possibly of other joints) may result from chronic, low-grade infections by organisms that, until recently, have been extremely difficult to grow in cultures or otherwise detect. They suggest that this possibility should be taken into consideration when diagnosing certain categories of patients with osteoarthritis.
Dr. Mozayeni says, “As rheumatologists our field has always had the gut instinct that, in many ‘autoimmune’ cases, we are actually dealing with chronic infections. New methods of culturing organisms together with advanced imaging microscopy may finally enable us to evaluate the role of chronic infections in conditions previously recognized only as ‘degenerative diseases’.