Reports From National Arthritis Meeting

Dr. Shiel Gives Perspectives Of Interest On Arthritis in Children From 2001 Annual Scientific Meeting Of The American College Of Rheumatology

Below are perspectives on key reports presented at the recent national meeting of the American College of Rheumatology:

Introduction

Arthritis in children is referred to as juvenile arthritis. Arthritis affects approximately 1 child in every 1,000 in a given year. Fortunately, most of these cases are mild. However, approximately 1 child in every 10,000 will have more severe arthritis that doesn't just go away. Many children have what is called an acute reactive arthritis following a viral or bacterial infection. This arthritis is often quite severe for a brief period, but usually disappears within a few weeks or months. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is the most common type of arthritis that persists for months or years at a time.

There are three main forms of JRA, which are distinguished by how the disease begins; pauciarticular, polyarticular, and systemic onset (also called Still's Disease). Pauciarticular JRA is defined by the involvement of fewer than four joints at the beginning of the disease. Polyarticular JRA is the form in which four or more joints are involved from the onset. Systemic Onset (Still's Disease) begins with high fevers and a rash.