Severe sepsis caused by serious gastrointestinal infection i
Interleukin (IL)-6 plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA). Tocilizumab (TCZ), a kind of biological agent against both membrane and soluble IL-6 receptor, is the only biological agent approved for the treatment of sJIA in China. Infections are the most common adverse events during TCZ therapy, and most of infections are mild or moderate. Severe sepsis originated from gastrointestinal infection is rarely reported.

Two 13-year-old sJIA patients who suffered from life-threatening infections after TCZ administration. Within one day, both of them presented rapidly progressive conditions that included fever, abdominal pain, dizziness, diarrhea and vomiting, and laboratory tests showed multi-organ dysfunctions. They were diagnosed with severe sepsis and septic shock that were supposed to be caused by the pathogens from the gastrointestinal tract, and they were eventually rescued by timely treatment. In addition, we also reviewed the literature about serious gastrointestinal infections and sepsis in sJIA patients receiving TCZ therapy.

In summary, for sJIA patients with TCZ therapy, invading pathogens from the gastrointestinal tract can cause an intensely systemic infection that may even be fatal. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to the gastrointestinal management of sJIA patients as well as remind them of their intestinal hygiene.