Individuals who have a history of infection face twice the risk of developing Sjögren’s syndrome, according to a multi-institution team of researchers in Sweden. Respiratory, skin, and urogenital infections were most prominently associated with this increased risk.
The study included 9,048 individuals from the general population in Sweden in 945 patients with Sjögren’s syndrome. Its findings support the hypothesis that environmental triggers of the immune system play a role in the development of Sjögren’s syndrome.
“To design strategies to prevent rheumatic diseases, we need to learn how and why they develop. This is a step in that direction,” said senior author Dr. Marie Wahren-Helenius of the Karolinska Institutet.
The study, “Infections Increase the Risk of Developing Sjögren’s Syndrome,” was published by the Journal of Internal Medicine.