Background Behcet’s disease (BD) has a high incidence in countries of the middle through to the far East and there are studies of demographics and disease characteristics from Turkey and Greece, through to Japan1. No such information exists for Cyprus. One would expect a high incidence, but this has never been studied. There are regional differences in disease characteristics and this would be important to know regarding Cyprus, given its geographical position in an area of high prevalence of BD.
Objectives This is the first attempt at describing the patient characteristics (demographics, symptomatic presentation/organ involvement and treatment) of Behcet’s Disease in Cyprus.
Methods Cypriot rheumatologists were invited to record the relevant information on a set pro forma for each of their patients with BD fullfilling the Behcet’s Disease international classification criteria.
Results 50 patients were detected in this first effort. The Male to Female ratio of 1.13 to 1 was similar to Turkey and Greece. Peak incidence was equal in the 3rd and 4th decades and mean age of diagnosis was 31 years. All but two patients were Greek Cypriot. There was a very low association with other family members with ABD, or recurrent oral apthae. HLA B51 status was untested in 15/50 patients and 69% of those tested were positive. Of all the symptoms recorded, the main ones characteristic of the Cypriot population were present in the following pattern: Oral ulcers occurred in 100% of the patients. Genital ulcers and arthrits in 56% and uveitis in 52%. Superficial thrombophlebitis occurred in 8%. 2% had DVT and 2% had aneurysms. (table)
Conclusions This was the first attempt at characterizing BD and studying its prevalence in Cyprus. The number of patients is small and conclusions have to be treated with caution. However, finding 50 patients amongst a population of around a million, already puts the prevalence of BD in Cyprus at 10 times that of the UK for example. This is still the beginning, and a concerted national effort must be undertaken with intensive case finding in order to detect undiagnosed cases, and eventually come up with basic epidemiological data to add to the global picture of the disease.
Zouboulis, CC. Epidemiology of Adamantiades-Behcet’sDisease. Annalesde Medicine Interne. 1999;150(6):488-98
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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