osteomyelitis (ŏsˌtēōmĪˌəlĪˈtĭs) [key], infection of the bone and bone marrow. Direct infection of bone usually occurs through open fractures, penetrating wounds, or surgical operations. Infecting microorganisms may also reach the bone via the bloodstream, the most common means of bone infection in children. Osteomyelitis is characterized by pain, high fever, and formation of an abscess at the site of infection. Infection may be caused by a variety of microorganisms, including staphylococci, streptococci, and other pathogenic bacteria. Unless treated vigorously with antibiotics and sometimes surgery, bone destruction may result.