The Incidence and Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, 2002–2004: The Georgia Lupus Registry


  • The findings and conclusions reported herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



The Georgia Lupus Registry is a population-based registry designed to improve our ability to estimate the incidence and prevalence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in a large population.


Potential cases of SLE were identified from multiple sources during the years 2002 through 2004. Cases were defined according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for SLE or a combined definition. Age-standardized rates were determined and stratified by race and sex. With capture–recapture analyses, we estimated the underascertainment of cases.


Using the ACR case definition, the overall crude and age-adjusted incidence rate was 5.6 per 100,000, with capture–recapture and combined definition rates being slightly higher. The age-adjusted incidence rate in women was >5 times higher than that for men (9.2 versus 1.8). Black women had an incidence rate nearly 3 times higher than that in white women, with a significantly higher rate in the group ages 30–59 years. The overall crude and age-adjusted prevalence rates were 74.4 and 73 per 100,000, respectively. The age-adjusted prevalence rate in women was nearly 9 times higher than that for men (127.6 versus 14.7). Black women had very high rates (196.2). A striking difference was seen in the proportion of prevalent cases with end-stage renal disease, with 7-fold greater involvement among black patients.


With the more complete case-finding methods we used, the incidence and prevalence rates of SLE are among the highest reported in the US. The results continue to underscore striking sex, age, and racial disparities between black patients and white patients with SLE.