<pathology> This is a condition where there inflammation of the intervertebral disk space due to infection with viruses or the bacteria Staphylococcus. Diskitis is usually seen in children under the age of 10. The thoracic and lumbar spine are the most commonly affected.

Symptoms include spine pain (back pain), fever, stiffness and in some cases, abdominal pain. Children tend to walked hunched over due to the pain. Some younger children may refuse to sit up or walk. Evaluation include history and physical examination. X-rays of the spine may show a narrowed disk space. MRI of the spine can show disk swelling. Other blood tests include a ESR (elevated) and CBC (elevated white blood cell count). A bone scan may also show increased uptake in the spine indicating inflammation.

Treatment includes analgesics and antibiotics that are active against Staphylococcus bacteria. Recovery is generally uncomplicated.

(27 Sep 1997)

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