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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis in two tertiary centres in the Western Cape, South Africa

Kate Weakley1*, Monika Esser2 and Christiaan Scott1

Author Affiliations

1 Dept of Paediatric Rheumatology, School of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Cape Town, Red Cross Childrens Hospital, Klipfontein Rd, Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa

2 Department of Paediatric Rheumatology and Immunology, Tygerberg Hospital, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa

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Pediatric Rheumatology 2012, 10:35  doi:10.1186/1546-0096-10-35

Published: 10 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a disease that shows wide variations between differing populations. Since the recent international consensus on classification criteria, JIA has been widely described in many countries and population groups. There has been almost no data that describes JIA in an African, specifically Sub-Saharan African, setting. Therefore, the aim of this study is to describe disease characteristics, disease course, and functional disability in two tertiary centres in the Western Cape, South Africa and compare the findings to other JIA populations.

Methods

Eighty-six children were recruited during random clinic visits to rheumatology clinics at Tygerberg and Groote Schuur Hospital between April 2010 and April 2011. Children were diagnosed using International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2001 classification criteria. Consent was obtained and medical records examined. The Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaires (CHAQ) and visual analogue scales (VAS) for pain and general well-being were completed and all children were examined by a researcher in conjunction with a paediatric rheumatologist. HIV status as well as tuberculosis disease and treatment were investigated.

Results

A total of 86 children were enrolled. Eight children were excluded (2 HIV arthropathy, 1 TB arthritis, 1 SLE, 4 with insufficient data), leaving a total of 78 patients. There was an equal female to male ratio-39 males and 39 females. There were 6 systemic JIA patients (7.69%), 17 persistent oligoarthritis (21.79%), 4 extended oligoarthritis (5.12%), 11 polyarthritis rheumatoid factor (RF) positive (14.10%), 21 polyarthritis RF negative (26.9%), 1 psoriatic arthritis (1.28%), and 18 enthesitis-related arthritis (23%). The median CHAQ for the group was 0.5 (IQR 0.1-1.25), the median VAS for pain was 18 mm (IQR 4–42) and median VAS for general well-being was 25 mm (IQR 3–49). Enthesitis-related arthritis and polyarthritis disease subtypes in this South African population may be more common than seen in JIA populations described in northern Europe, India, United Kingdom, and Turkey.

Conclusion

This Western Cape South African JIA population appears to have a different profile of JIA than what has been described elsewhere. Enthesitis-related arthritis and polyarthritis disease subtypes appear to be more prevalent. There are also significant challenges in this setting such as later presentation to pediatric rheumatologists, different disease characteristics, and variable disease courses.

Keywords:
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; South Africa; Clinical characteristics; Functional disability