Increase in JIA Flare-Ups Seen During COVID Lockdown in Italy

August 19, 2021

This week, a team of researchers reported online in Arthritis Care & Research that the rate of disease flares among juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients* increased from 6.3% in 2019 to 16.9% in 2020. The elevation was seen even though the patients had adhered to their medication regimens and had been in a state of inactive disease.

While a small handful of researchers have been studying the pandemic’s effects on adults with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, very little is known about the specific impact on pediatric patients. This gap in the research is what inspired this team of researchers to focus on this specific population. The researchers noted that “the physical inactivity associated with home confinement could be a possible explanation for clinical worsening in our patients” and emphasized the need for implementing personalized at-home exercise plans for JIA patients confined to their homes.

* A single-center retrospective study was conducted, including patients presenting inactive JIA between September 1st, 2018 and March 9th, 2019 (group A – 126 patients) and between September 1st, 2019 and March 9th, 2020 (group B – 124 patients).