A seven-year-old white male presented with recurrent bouts of paranasal sinusitis, streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis, lower respiratory tract infections, continuous low-grade fever, and conjunctivitis, which required frequent use of antibiotics over a period of two years. A careful review of systems also revealed a six-month history of arthralgia affecting his knees, elbows, and hands, which limited his daily activities. Prominent in the history were recurrent bouts of a generalized salmon-red, nonpruritic rash, which was most pronounced on the face and trunk and which was exacerbated by fever. His past medical history revealed severe bouts of gastroesophageal reflux disease, chronic intermittent bloody mucous diarrhea, and atopic dermatitis. A detailed review of the patient's family pedigree over five generations revealed a strong genetic predisposition for autoimmune diseases of several types. His physical examination revealed a thin, pale, chronically ill-appearing male, bilateral conjunctivitis, and pale nasal mucosae with no lymphadenopathy, organomegaly, arthritis, or rash. All laboratory results were unremarkable except for a positive rheumatoid factor and a suboptimal antibody response to immunization with pneumococcal vaccine. A diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis of the systemic onset type was established, and, based upon his humoral immune deficiency, treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin was initiated with remarkable improvement in his symptomatology.
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