Past antibiotic exposure may be associated with newly diagnosed juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which suggests that alterations in the human microbiome may be implicated in the development of the disease. The results of the case-control study were published online July 20 in Pediatrics.
Using a population-representative electronic medical records database in the United Kingdom, researchers identified 152 children (aged 1 to 15 years) newly diagnosed with JIA between 1994 and 2013. They compared each case with 10 age- and sex-matched control subjects who did not have immunodeficiency, inflammatory bowel disease, or system rheumatic diseases.
The authors evaluated all antibiotic courses among both groups and included data on the timing, duration, and dose of antibiotic exposure.
One or more courses of antibiotic therapy was associated with an increased risk of developing JIA when compared with control subjects (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 - 3.5), and "[t]he magnitude of the association increased with additional antibiotic courses." This association was noted after adjusting for matching, previous infection, or other autoimmune disease.