Background In the only Italian population-based epidemiologic study on Behçet’s disease (BD) carried out in a northern area, the Reggio Emilia district, the prevalence of the disease was 3.8 per 100.000 inhabitans.
Objectives The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of Behçet’s disease (BD) in Basilicata (or Lucania), a Region of southern Italy.
Methods Patients with BD living in Basilicata for at least 12 months prior to diagnosis were identified through the following sources: general practitioners, community-based specialists, San Carlo Hospital and Madonna delle Grazie Hospital specialists, the Basilicata centralized index and the Basilicata database for rare diseases. All identified patients were contacted by phone and were recalled to our outpatient clinic for re-evaluation. Patients were classified as having complete BD if they met the International Study Group (ISG) criteria for BD. Prevalence was established in July 2011. The prevalence rate was obtained by dividing the number of patients who had the disease by the number of individuals in the Basilicata (Lucania) population.
Results By screening of a population of 597.768 subjects, 77 patients with a diagnosis of BD were identified and 60 of them (87.3%) were evaluated. Fifty-five (22 males and 33 females) out of these satisfied the ISG criteria and permitted us to obtain a prevalence rate of 9,2 cases per 100.000 inhabitans.
Conclusions This cross-sectional population-based study suggests that BD is more frequent in the southern part than in the northern part of Italy and confirms that the prevalence of the disease increases in a north-to-south manner within the European continent.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared