Document Type

Article

Department

Internal Medicine

Abstract

An inflammatory polyarthritis has been previously described in leprosy but accounts of the clinical characteristics have varied. All patients with joint symptoms admitted to a leprosy centre over 5 months were examined by a rheumatologist. Of 48 acute admissions, 20 (42%) had a symmetrical polyarthritis affecting the wrists and fingers. This was strikingly similar to RA in appearance. The arthritis occurred exclusively in patients with reactions mainly during anti-mycobacterial treatment. The clinical features of the joint disorder were identical in Type I (associated with alterations in immune status) and Type II (erythema nodosum leprosum) reactions. Synovial tissue from one patient revealed no mycobacteria. Four of five hand X-rays suggested small erosions of the finger joints.

Publication

British Journal of Rheumatology

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