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27-08-2021 | Juvenile idiopathic arthritis | News

News in brief

Increased rates of JIA flare during COVID-19 lockdown

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) experienced increased rates of flare during the COVID-19 lockdown period, suggest findings from an Italian cohort study.

Maria Alessio and colleagues, from the University of Naples Federico II, evaluated flare rates in 124 children who had inactive disease between September 2019 and March 2020 and were followed up during the lockdown period in March–June 2020. These rates were compared with those in a control group of 126 children with inactive disease and subsequent follow-up during the same periods 1 year previously.

The team found that flare rates were significantly higher in the lockdown than the control group, at 16.9% versus 6.3%, as was the proportion of children prescribed a new drug, at 15.3% versus 6.3%.

Alessio and co-authors say that these associations were observed despite no significant differences in rates of ongoing treatment between the two groups, nor in characteristics such as age, JIA subtype, and rates of uveitis. However, rates of physical activity outside of school during the past month were significantly lower in the lockdown than the control group (3.6 vs 62.3%).

“Therefore, the physical inactivity associated [with] home confinement could be a possible explanation for clinical worsening in our patients,” write the researchers in Arthritis Care & Research.

They recommend that “prescription of home-based exercise programs by a physical therapist should be promoted to implement JIA management in case of public lockdowns.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

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Arthritis Care Res 2021; doi:10.1002/acr.24768