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Open Access Low-Dose Infectivity of Staphylococcus aureus (SMH Strain) in Traumatized Rat Tibiae Provides a Model for Studying Early Events in Contaminated Bone Injuries

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Animal models of post-traumatic acute osteomyelitis (OM) that closely mimic human scenarios, including infection prophylactic procedures such as debridement and lavage, may provide a better understanding of OM. We contaminated mechanically traumatized rat tibiae (n = 69) with various doses of a Staphylococcus aureus strain (SMH) known to cause human OM and then performed curettage and lavage. Tibiae were harvested 24 h after lavage for assessment of bacterial load and determination of minimal infective doses for 50% (ID50) and 95% (ID95) of rats. Some experiments varied tibial harvest time after lavage (n = 10); for progressive infection, tibiae were evaluated at 7 and 15 days after contamination (n = 17 for each time point). At 24 h after contamination, the ID50 was 1.8 × 103 CFU, and the ID95 was 9.2 × 103 CFU. Tibial bacterial loads did not increase with inocula greater than the ID95. Lavage removed many bacteria from bone, but it did not prevent subsequent infection or disease. At 15 days after contamination, most tibiae (14 of 17) were infected, with macroscopic and radiological signs of established OM. This newly described rat OM model, with a low ID95 despite prophylactic curettage and lavage, closely mimics events in contaminated human bone injuries. This situation will allow study of early factors in contaminated bone injuries, including clinical interventions that may reduce infection and prevent disease.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Clinical Investigation, Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia 30905 2: Departments of Orthopedic Surgery, Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia 30905 3: Departments of Clinical Investigation, and Medicine, Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia 30905

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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