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Keywords:

  • arthritis;
  • child;
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis;
  • parvovirus B19

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of recent parvovirus B19 infection in a cohort of children presenting with acute arthropathy and to determine the prevalence of a subsequent diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in this cohort.

Method: In this prospective study, parvovirus B19 IgM antibody was investigated in 75 patients who were referred to our clinic with acute joint complaints and also in 75 healthy controls. One patient in each group was excluded due to neuroblastoma and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The characteristics of parvovirus B19 IgM positive patients who were accepted as parvovirus B19 arthropathy were further evaluated. All the patients were followed up for at least 6 weeks and the patients with chronic progression of joint complaints were followed for at least 6 months to determine their progress. The cases of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in this chronic group were identified.

Results: Parvovirus B19 IgM was detected in 16 of 74 patients (21.6%) with acute arthropathy compared with 3 of 74 (4.1%) in the healthy control group (χ2 = 8.67; P = 0.003). The parvovirus B19 positive patients with arthropathy were more likely to become chronic (P = 3.7 × 10−7) and to be diagnosed as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (P = 0.03) than the parvovirus B19 IgM negative group with arthropathy. Additional joint destruction developed in one case who was parvovirus B19 IgM positive in whom juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was diagnosed during follow up.

Conclusion: These data support the hypothesis that parvovirus B19 infection may be associated with the onset of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in a proportion of patients.