The epidemiology of rheumatic disorders in a rural area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): A COPCORD study
Objective: To determine the prevalence of rheumatic diseases in a rural area of DR Congo.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed in six randomly chosen villages of the health division of Gombe- Matadi, in Kongo-Central province (near Kinshasa), from 15th October to 15th November 2012. Investigators questioned all individuals living in these villages, using the COPCORD Core questionnaire (CCQ). Age, sex and rheumatic complaints were noted. X-rays, and laboratory tests (C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, blood cells count, uric acid and some serological assays) were performed.
Results: In total, 1500 individuals were questioned. Rheumatic complaints were reported by 743 individuals (49.5%), of whom 424 women and 319 men (sex ratio H/F 0.8). Their average age was 48.8±15.4 years. The encountered diseases were: osteoarthritis in 552 patients (prevalence of 36.8%), spondylarthropathies in 57 patients (prevalence of 3.8%), soft tissue rheumatism in 78 patients (5.2%), rheumatoid arthritis in 21 patients (1.4%), juvenile arthritis in 19 patients (1.26%), infectious arthritis in 11 patients (0.73%), rheumatic fever in 9 patients (0.6%) and gout in 1 patient (0.06%).
Conclusions: All types of rheumatic diseases can be found in rural areas and some of them like SpA, RA were found with very high frequencies. Also, clinical and demographic differences were observed compared to literature data.
Key words: Rheumatic diseases, Rural area, DR Congo