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A Case of Tularemia in a Prosthetic Joint Infection



Periprosthetic infections occur in approximately 0.8% to 1.9% of all total knee arthroplasties (TKAs). Even with these low rates, it is rare to find a zoonotic bacterium causing a periprosthetic infection. In this case report, the authors identify the second documented case of a total joint infection with Francisella tularensis in the world and the first in the United States. A 58-year-old man underwent a left TKA in 1994 and a right TKA in 1997 for severe primary bilateral knee osteoarthrosis. In 2015, he underwent polyethylene exchange for polyethylene wear. Subsequently, he developed repeated effusion without fever or constitutional signs of infection. One aspiration was sent for culture and grew F tularensis. He was treated with doxycycline for chronic suppression and currently has no signs of infection. Total joint implantation rates are expected to rise, with 3.5 million procedures projected to be performed annually by the year 2030 vs 450,000 procedures performed in 2005. With the increased number of operations, it is likely that zoonotic infections will increase as well. Thus, rare zoonotic bacterial infections as well as chronic outdoor exposure in the presence of persistent joint swelling should be considered when obtaining a patient history. [Orthopedics. 2019; 4x(x):xx–xx.]

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