Objective: Infections have been implicated in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) development. However, the impact of premorbid infection on initiation and perpetuation of RA has not been well elucidated. Thus, we sought to conduct a large scale on-site survey to study whether premorbid infection may trigger RA and influence status of the disease. Methods: Premorbid infectious events were collected in cohort of 902 RA patients from December 2015 to June 2016. Type of infections prior to RA onset and its possible effects on disease status were analyzed. Result: Three hundred and thirty-four out of 902 patients (37.03%) experienced infections within one month preceding RA onset. The most frequent infections were respiratory (16.08%), intestinal (11.09%) and urinary tract (9.87%) infection, respectively. The infection was associated with increased disease activity. Early onset was found in patients with urinary infection. High disease activity risk was increased in patients who pre-exposure to urinary infection (OR=3.813, 95%CI=1.717-12.418) and upper respiratory infection (OR=2.475, 95%CI= 0.971-6.312). Conclusion: Pre-exposure infections are associated with development of RA. Severe disease status of RA and persistent of active disease status are related to preceding infections.
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