As interest in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) research has increased, it has become apparent that knowledge about SLE epidemiology has lagged behind. The most fundamental aspect of epidemiology of any disease is determining the disease’s incidence and prevalence rates. The reported rates for SLE vary greatly. This is due partly to the inherent disparities of the disease; however, great variation also exists in study methodology. Understanding these differences and defining ideal approaches will advance our current understanding of the literature and future efforts. Well-designed epidemiologic studies of SLE also can help further our understanding in several related research areas.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
References and Recommended Reading
Siegel M, Holley HL, Lee SL: Epidemiologic studies on systemic lupus erythematosus. Comparative data for New York City and Jefferson County, Alabama, 1956–1965. Arthritis Rheum 1970, 13: 802–811.
Fessel WJ: Systemic lupus erythematosus in the community. Incidence, prevalence, outcome, and first symptoms; the high prevalence in black women. Arch Intern Med 1974, 134: 1027–1035.
Michet CJ Jr, McKenna CH, Elveback LR, et al.: Epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus and other connective tissue diseases in Rochester, Minnesota, 1950 through 1979. Mayo Clin Proc 1985, 60: 105–113.
Hochberg MC: The incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus in Baltimore, Maryland, 1970–1977. Arthritis Rheum 1985, 28: 80–86.
McCarty DJ, Manzi S, Medsger TA Jr, et al.: Incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus. Race and gender differences. Arthritis Rheum 1995, 38: 1260–1270.
Uramoto KM, Michet CJ Jr, Thumboo J, et al.: Trends in the incidence and mortality of systemic lupus erythematosus, 1950–1992. Arthritis Rheum 1999, 42: 46–50.
Walsh BT, Pope C, Reid M, et al.: SLE in a United States-Mexico border community. J Clin Rheumatol 2001, 7: 3–9.
Ward MM: Prevalence of physician-diagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus in the United States: results from the third national health and nutrition examination survey. J Womens Health (Larchmt) 2004, 13: 713–718.
Naleway AL, Davis ME, Greenlee RT, et al.: Epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus in rural Wisconsin. Lupus 2005, 14: 862–866.
Bernatsky S, Joseph L, Pineau CA, et al.: A population-based assessment of systemic lupus erythematosus incidence and prevalence-results and implications of using administrative data for epidemiological studies. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2007, 46: 1814–1818.
Hopkinson ND, Doherty M, Powell RJ: Clinical features and race-specific incidence/prevalence rates of systemic lupus erythematosus in a geographically complete cohort of patients. Ann Rheum Dis 1994, 53: 675–680.
Johnson AE, Gordon C, Palmer RG, Bacon PA: The prevalence and incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus in Birmingham, England. Relationship to ethnicity and country of birth. Arthritis Rheum 1995, 38: 551–558.
Nightingale AL, Farmer RD, de Vries CS: Incidence of clinically diagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus 1992–1998 using the UK General Practice Research Database. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2006, 15: 656–661.
Nightingale AL, Farmer RD, de Vries CS: Systemic lupus erythematosus prevalence in the UK: methodological issues when using the General Practice Research Database to estimate frequency of chronic relapsing-remitting disease. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2007, 16: 144–151.
Somers EC, Thomas SL, Smeeth L, et al.: Incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus in the United Kingdom, 1990–1999. Arthritis Rheum 2007, 57: 612–618.
Govoni M, Castellino G, Bosi S, et al.: Incidence and prevalence of systemic lupus erythematosus in a district of north Italy. Lupus 2006, 15: 110–113.
Lopez P, Mozo L, Gutierrez C, Suarez A: Epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus in a northern Spanish population: gender and age influence on immunological features. Lupus 2003, 12: 860–865.
Nossent HC: Systemic lupus erythematosus in the Arctic region of Norway. J Rheumatol 2001, 28: 539–546.
Stahl-Hallengren C, Jonsen A, Nived O, Sturfelt G: Incidence studies of systemic lupus erythematosus in Southern Sweden: increasing age, decreasing frequency of renal manifestations and good prognosis. J Rheumatol 2000, 27: 685–691.
Voss A, Green A, Junker P: Systemic lupus erythematosus in Denmark: clinical and epidemiological characterization of a county-based cohort. Scand J Rheumatol 1998, 27: 98–105.
Danchenko N, Satia JA, Anthony MS: Epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus: a comparison of worldwide disease burden. Lupus 2006, 15: 308–318.
Petri M, Magder L: Classification criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus: a review. Lupus 2004, 13: 829–837.
Tan EM, Cohen AS, Fries JF, et al.: The 1982 revised criteria for the classification of systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Rheum 1982, 25: 1271–1277.
Hochberg MC: Updating the American College of Rheumatology revised criteria for the classification of systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Rheum 1997, 40: 1725.
Tebbe B, Mansmann U, Wollina U, et al.: Markers in cutaneous lupus erythematosus indicating systemic involvement. A multicenter study on 296 patients. Acta Derm Venereol 1997, 77: 305–308.
Iseki K, Miyasato F, Oura T, et al.: An epidemiologic analysis of end-stage lupus nephritis. Am J Kidney Dis 1994, 23: 547–554.
Patel M, Clarke AM, Bruce IN, Symmons DP: The prevalence and incidence of biopsy-proven lupus nephritis in the UK: Evidence of an ethnic gradient. Arthritis Rheum 2006, 54: 2963–2969.
Cardinali C, Caproni M, Bernacchi E, et al.: The spectrum of cutaneous manifestations in lupus erythematosus-the Italian experience. Lupus 2000, 9: 417–423.
Huang JL, Yao TC, See LC: Prevalence of pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus and juvenile chronic arthritis in a Chinese population: a nation-wide prospective population-based study in Taiwan. Clin Exp Rheumatol 2004, 22: 776–780.
Molokhia M, McKeigue PM, Cuadrado M, Hughes G: Systemic lupus erythematosus in migrants from west Africa compared with Afro-Caribbean people in the UK. Lancet 2001, 357: 1414–1415.
Bossingham D: Systemic lupus erythematosus in the far north of Queensland. Lupus 2003, 12: 327–331.
Mok CC, Lau CS: Lupus in Hong Kong Chinese. Lupus 2003, 12: 717–722.
Ward MM: Education level and mortality in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): evidence of underascertainment of deaths due to SLE in ethnic minorities with low education levels. Arthritis Rheum 2004, 51: 616–624.
Capocaccia R, Colonna M, Corazziari I, et al.: Measuring cancer prevalence in Europe: the EUROPREVAL project. Ann Oncol 2002, 13: 831–839.
Zivadinov R, Iona L, Monti-Bragadin L, et al.: The use of standardized incidence and prevalence rates in epidemiological studies on multiple sclerosis. A meta-analysis study. Neuroepidemiology 2003, 22: 65–74.
Morgan CL, Currie CJ, Peters JR: Estimating the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in a health district of Wales. Diabet Med 2001, 18: 423.
Parks CG, Cooper GS: Occupational exposures and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus: a review of the evidence and exposure assessment methods in population-and clinic-based studies. Lupus 2006, 15: 728–736.
Parks CG, Cooper GS, Nylander-French LA, et al.: Occupational exposure to crystalline silica and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus: a population-based, case-control study in the southeastern United States. Arthritis Rheum 2002, 46: 1840–1850.
Tsai PC, Ko YC, Huang W, et al.: Increased liver and lupus mortalities in 24-year follow-up of the Taiwanese people highly exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls and dibenzofurans. Sci Total Environ 2007, 374: 216–222.
Karlson EW, Watts J, Signorovitch J, et al.: Effect of glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms and proximity to hazardous waste sites on time to systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosis: results from the Roxbury lupus project. Arthritis Rheum 2007, 56: 244–254.
About this article
Cite this article
Lim, S.S., Drenkard, C. Epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus: Capturing the butterfly. Curr Rheumatol Rep 10, 265 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11926-008-0043-4
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Case Ascertainment
- General Practice Research Database
- Centralize Health Information
- Crystalline Silica