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April 30, 1973

Section 8: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

JAMA. 1973;224(Suppl_5):701-711. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220190041011

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown origin that may affect many different organs.1 The clinical manifestations of this disease, which are remarkably diverse, include fever, an erythematous rash, polyarthralgia and arthritis, polyserositis (especially pleurisy and pericarditis), anemia, thrombocytopenia, and renal, neurologic, and cardiac abnormalities. The disease was named after a form of facial rash that occurs in some cases and was originally considered akin to cutaneous tuberculosis (lupus vulgaris); the term "lupus" is derived from the erosive nature of the latter condition, which was likened to the damage wrought by a hungry wolf.

SLE displays a strong predilection for women, particularly adolescents and young adults, who are affected more than four times as often as men. In a retrospective analysis of a heterogeneous population in New York City, covering the ten-year period from 1956 to 1965, the average annual incidence of SLE was estimated