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Radon, Katja; Windstetter, Doris; Poluda, David; Haefner, Renate; Thomas, Silke; Michels, Hartmut; Mutius, Erika von: Exposure to animals and risk of oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a multicenter case-control study. In: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010, 11:73
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Abstract

Background: An inverse association between early contact with microbial compounds and respiratory allergies is well established. The protective effect of infant contact with animals was also shown for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We aimed to test the association between animal contact in infancy and oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (OA JIA). Methods: Parents of children with OA JIA registered at the Hospital for Pediatric Rheumatology in Garmisch-Partenkirchen were asked to complete a questionnaire. Children who underwent strabismus surgery at six referral centers for ophthalmology served as controls. Children age 6 to 18 years born in Germany without malformations were included (238 cases; response 89% and 832 controls; response 86%). Data were analyzed using logistic regression models after adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Neither place of living (urban vs. rural area), living on a farm, nor regular farm animal (adjusted odds ratio 0.79; 95% confidence interval 0.42-1.47) or pet contact (0.79; 0.55-1.14) during infancy were clearly related to case status. Allergic rhinitis was inversely related to OA JIA (0.57; 0.34-0.95). Neither place of living (urban vs. rural area), living on a farm, nor regular farm animal (adjusted odds ratio 0.79; 95% confidence interval 0.42-1.47) or pet contact (0.79; 0.55-1.14) during infancy were related to case status. Allergic rhinitis was inversely related to OA JIA (0.57; 0.34-0.95). Conclusions: Contact with farm environments in infancy might not be associated with OA JIA. This finding is consistent with previous findings for diabetes mellitus type 1 but contradicts results for IBD and SLE.