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How Common Is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

About 1 out of 1,000 children have juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). There are several types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, with most types being more common in girls.1

The types of JIA affect children at the following rates:1

  • Up to 60 out of 100 children with JIA have oligoarticular arthritis. Of these 60 children, 20 to 30 of them have symptoms in more than four joints after the first 6 months, so they are said to have extended oligoarticular JIA. The rest of these children continue to have less than four joints affected over time. This is called persistent oligoarticular JIA.
  • About 30 out of 100 children with JIA have RF-negative polyarticular JIA. This means they have polyarticular symptoms without an antibody called rheumatoid factor in their blood.
  • Fewer than 10 out of 100 children with JIA have RF-positive polyarticular JIA. This means they have polyarticular symptoms and also have rheumatoid factor in their blood.
  • About 10 out of 100 children with JIA have systemic symptoms.
  • About 10 out of 100 children have a form of arthritis called enthesitis-related JIA.
  • Fewer than 10 out of 100 have psoriatic JIA.
  • A few children are said to have unclassified JIA. This means that their symptoms and past health do not exactly match any of the other types of JIA.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can occur at higher rates among certain ethnic groups and in some geographic areas. Environmental and genetic factors are thought to be responsible, though research has not yet confirmed this theory.2


  1. Nistala K, et al. (2009). Juvenile idiopathic arthritis. In GS Firestein et al., eds., Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, 8th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1657–1675. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

  2. Warren RW, et al. (2005). Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). In WJ Koopman, LW Moreland, eds., Arthritis and Allied Conditions, 15th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1277–1300. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Current as of June 5, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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