Infant infections may predict arthritis risk

June 17, 2008

Infections during the first year of life may increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis later in life, according to new findings.

Infections during the first year of life may increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) later in life, according to new findings.

As reported at the 2008 Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Paris, France, researchers reviewed data of persons born between 1973 and 2002 in Sweden, and included 333 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 3,334 JIA patients for their study.

The analysis showed that an increase in infections within the first 12 months of life was associated with an increased risk of developing JIA (odds ratio = 0.7) and sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis (odds ratio = 1.5).

Other potential risk factors for these arthritic disorders included low birth weight and duration of the gestational period. In particular, a gestational period longer than 42 weeks was a potential risk factor for developing JIA, the investigators found.