What is Osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis is a bacterial bone and joint infection that progressively destroys the bone and may also affect joints.

Two children with osteomyelitisTwo children undergoing treatment for Osteomyelitis. Photo: CBM/Heal Africa.

Infection can spread from the bloodstream into the bone. When a bone becomes infected, pus is produced from within the bone, resulting in a foul-smelling discharge.

Causes of osteomyelitis include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Malnutrition
  • Puncture injury
  • Poor hygiene
  • A weakened immune system (from HIV or AIDS, Cancer or a poor diet)

Osteomyelitis is more common in children because their bones are more vulnerable as they are not fully grown.

If not treated quickly, it will lead to the chronic stage with severe bone destruction.

Curing Osteomyelitis

Antibiotics can eliminate the infection if detected early, but once it becomes chronic, surgery is the only viable option.

Surgeons clean and remove infected tissue and bone but reconstructive surgery is often required. It is therefore crucial that the condition is detected early to enable treatment to begin.

CBM and Osteomyelitis

We support projects throughout the developing world, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, that detect and provide surgical treatment and rehabilitation for people with this bone infection.

You can support our work and provide treatment for people with osteomyelitis today by donating online.

Further Reading