To estimate the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSK) and rheumatic diseases in an indigenous Wichi population in Argentina.
This is a cross-sectional, community-based study using the Community-Oriented Program for the Control of Rheumatic Diseases (COPCORD) methodology in ≥ 18-year-old subjects. Validated surveys were conducted by trained interviewers. Subjects with MSK pain (positive cases) were evaluated by internists and rheumatologists for diagnosis and treatment.
A total of 648 interviews were performed (90.4% of the census population). Mean age was 37.5 years (SD 14.8), and 379 (58.5%) were female. The mean years of education was 7.0 (SD 3.7); 552 subjects (85.2%) were covered by the public health care system. A total of 216 (33.3%) subjects had MSK pain in the last 7 days. Rheumatic disease prevalence was as follows: mechanical back pain (19.0%), rheumatic regional pain syndrome (5.2%), osteoarthritis (3.2%), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (3.2%), inflammatory back pain (1.2%), undifferentiated arthritis (0.3%), Sjögren syndrome (0.15%), and fibromyalgia (0.15%). RA patients included 19 (90.5%) women and 9 (42.9%) with RA family history. One hundred percent were seropositive and 66.7% showed radiologic erosions. The mean of Disease Activity Score [DAS-28 (ESR)] at the time of diagnosis was 5.1 (SD 1.5) and the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI) was 0.8 (SD 0.4).
RA prevalence was 3.2%, one of the highest reported using the COPCORD methodology in indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Latin America, with a high percentage of family cases. Pain and functional capacity were the variables allowing patients’ early referral to a specialist.Key Points• The RA prevalence was 3.2%, one of the highest reported using COPCORD methodology in indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Latin America.• The patients with RA had high percentage of familiar history of RA.• The pain and functional capacity were the variables associated with a diagnosis of any rheumatic disease and should be considered for early referral.• The mean of the delay in the diagnosis was 5.8 years. In this community, the lack of the “migration health” phenomenon may be a social determinant that negatively impacts their health.