Objective: To assess whether certain environmental factors temporally associated with the onset of juvenile idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (JIIMs) differ between phenotypes.
Methods: Physicians completed questionnaires regarding documented infections, medications, immunizations and an open-ended question about other noted exposures within 6 months before illness onset for 285 patients with probable or definite JIIM. Medical records were reviewed for 81% of the patients. Phenotypes were defined by standard clinical and laboratory measures.
Results: Sixty per cent of JIIM patients had a reported exposure within 6 months before illness onset. Most patients (62%) had one recorded exposure, 26% had two and 12% had three to five exposures. Patients older than the median age at diagnosis, those with a longer delay to diagnosis and those with anti-signal recognition particle autoantibodies had a higher frequency of documented exposures [odds ratios (ORs) 95% CI 3.4, 31]. Infections were the most common exposure and represented 44% of the total number of reported exposures. Non-infectious exposures included medications (18%), immunizations (11%), stressful life events (11%) and unusual sun exposure (7%). Exposures varied by age at diagnosis, race, disease course and the presence of certain myositis autoantibodies.
Conclusion: The JIIMs may be related to multiple exposures and these appear to vary among phenotypes.