Adult-onset Still's disease

What causes adult-onset Still's disease?

The cause of adult-onset Still’s disease is unknown. Some hypothesize that the condition results from or is triggered by a virus or other infectious agent. Others believe that it is a hypersensitive or autoimmune disorder. To date, no conclusive evidence has been found to prove or disprove either theory.

Last updated on 05-01-20

What is adult-onset Still's disease?

Adult-onset Still's disease (AOSD) is an inflammatory disease characterized by high fevers, rash, sore throat, and joint pain. Several joints are often affected at the same time, and the joints are often stiff for several hours in the morning. Fevers develop each day (usually in the afternoon or evening), and the rash comes and goes with the fever. Other signs and symptoms may include abdominal pain, pleurisy, swollen lymph nodes, and weight loss. In some cases, the lungs and heart become inflamed. As it progresses, the disease may lead to chronic arthritis and other complications.

The cause of AOSD is unknown, and no risk factors for the disease have been identified. It is diagnosed based on symptoms and the results of several blood tests. Blood test results may show a high white blood cell count, high C-reactive protein and ESR (measures of inflammation), high ferritin level, high fibrinogen level, and high levels of AST and ALT on liver function tests. AOSD is only diagnosed when other conditions such as infections and cancer are ruled out.

Treatment aims to control inflammation, and prevent joint damage and other complications. Depending on severity and whether long-term management is needed, medications used may include non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, glucocorticoids, nonbiologic or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), or other biologic agents. The long-term outlook depends on severity, whether the disease is chronic (long-lasting), and what organs or parts of the body are involved.

Of note, Still's disease which occurs in children (those under the age of 16) is known as systemic onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is adult-onset Still's disease genetic?

Multiple cases of adult-onset Still's disease in families are uncommon; therefore, it's unlikely that this disorder is inherited. However, there may be cases where it is or appears to be inherited. These cases should be evaluated independently by a rheumatologist and/or genetics professional.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Where To Start

Stills disease

The Arthritis Foundation has an information page on adult onset stills disease. Click on the link above to view the information page.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: Arthritis Foundation 1355 Peachtree St. NE 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA, 30309, United States
Phone: +1-404-872-7100 Toll Free: 1-844-571-HELP (4357) Url:

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The RareGuru disease database is regularly updated using data generously provided by GARD, the United States Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

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