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Joint Bone Spine. 2000;67(4):346-8.

Juvenile relapsing periarteritis nodosa and streptococcal infection.

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  • 1Service de médecine interne et maladies infectieuses, hôpital de la Cavale-Blanche, CHU, Brest, France.


Classic polyarteritis nodosa is a multisystem inflammatory disease associated with necrotizing vasculitis of small and medium arteries. In most cases, the causes of polyarteritis nodosa remain unknown, but viruses (HBV, HCV, HIV) and microbes (especially streptococcus) have been considered as etiologic or contributing factors. A 13-year-old boy was admitted with fever, skin lesions, polyarthritis and muscle involvement. A muscle biopsy demonstrated a necrotizing vasculitis and antistreptolysin titre was tremendously increased. His condition improved following the administration of oral steroids but he experienced relapses 5 and 12 years later when penicillin withdrawal was attempted. The flares were accompanied by a major increase of antistreptolysin titre and response to corticosteroid was obtained. He is currently 38 years old and he remains well on prophylactic penicillin. Polyarteritis nodosa in children may occur after a streptococcal infection. It may be prudent to consider penicillin prophylaxis in patients with periarteritis nodosa when a streptococcal etiology is documented or highly suspected.

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