African Journal of Rheumatology

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Systemic lupus erythematosus in Southern Africa: current status and challenges

R Daimari, A.A. Oyekunle, G.M. Ditlotlo


Objective: To review the pathophysiology, clinical features and treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and current status of lupus in Southern Africa.

Data source: A broad search was performed using PubMed/MEDLINE, Prime/PubMed, Wiley online library, African Journal Online (AJOL) and Google.

Study design: Evidence-based clinical review of the literature.

Data extraction: Both full text and abstract were reviewed and information was collected and compared with other studies from the region. Data extraction was aimed mostly to find demographic variation, population groups, clinical pattern, treatment and outcome of lupus.

Data synthesis: Our search result included studies and review articles published online on SLE pathophysiology, clinical feature and treatment. We also performed a detailed analysis of three retrospective studies, two prospective studies and three case reports from Southern Africa to identify the number of reported cases, clinical patterns and outcome.

Conclusions: Systemic lupus erythematous remains a rare disease in Southern Africa. There are diagnostic and therapeutic challenges in the treatment of SLE in a developing country. Due to improved health care, it is commonly believed that SLE is increasing in southern Africa but our review shows it is still infrequently reported disease in southern Africa.

Keywords: Systemic lupus erythematosus, Southern Africa, Lupus nephritis, Challenges, Botswana

AJOL African Journals Online