Juvenile arthritis (JA) is an umbrella term used to describe a number of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children.
The most common form of JA is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), formally called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) or juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA). Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is diagnosed in a child less than 16 years of age with at least 6 weeks of persistent arthritis. There are seven distinct subtypes, each having different symptoms and association to the child's autoimmunity and genetics.1 Certain subtypes are associated with an increased risk of inflammatory eye disease (uveitis). Understanding the differences in the various forms of JIA, their causes, and methods to better diagnose and treat these conditions in children is important for future treatment and prevention. Among all subtypes, 40% to 45% of children with JIA still have active disease after 10 years.2
Because of the various forms of JA, estimates of prevalence and incidence are difficult to identify. Overall estimates are that 300,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with JIA.3
In 2006, the CDC Arthritis Program finalized a case definition for ongoing surveillance of pediatric arthritis and other rheumatologic conditions (SPARC) using the current ICD-9-CM diagnostically based data systems.
- 1. Petty RE, Southwood TR, Manners P, Baum J, Glass DN, Goldenberg J, He X, Maldonado-Cocco J, Orozco-Alcala J, Prieur AM, Suarez-Almazor ME, Woo P; International League of Associations for Rheumatology: International League of Associations for Rheumatology classification of juvenile idiopathic arthritis: Second revision, Edmonton, 2001. J Rheumatol 2004 Feb;31(2):390-2.
- 2. Arthritis Foundation: Juvenile Arthritis. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/arthritis-facts/disease-center/juvenile-arthrit.... November 11, 2014.
- 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Childhood Arthritis. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/childhood.htm. Accessed November 11, 2014.