Researchers in Sweden have found that hospitalization for certain types of infection during childhood — such as respiratory tract infection — are associated with the likelihood of a person’s later development of ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
When a tonsillectomy was performed, the risk was even higher, they said. Not all infections, however, were associated with an AS diagnosis. Children who were hospitalized for appendicitis, and those who had an appendectomy, had a decreased risk. Genetic factors are widely known to play a significant role in the development of AS, and the authors were careful to note that causality could not be determined for the associations they identified. However, some environmental factors, such as smoking, have been clearly linked.