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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 50-55

An association between rheumatoid arthritis and scabies infection: A population-based study in Taiwan


1 National Defense Medical Center, Graduate Institute of Life Sciences; Department of Pathology, National Defense Medical Center, Graduate Institute of Pathology and Parasitology, The Tri-Service General Hospital; National Defense Medical Center, Biobank Management Center of the Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
2 National Defense Medical Center, Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, Taipei; Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Taoyuan General Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taoyuan; Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Defense Medical Center, Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
4 Department of Pathology, National Defense Medical Center, Graduate Institute of Pathology and Parasitology, The Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
5 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, National Defense Medical Center, Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fung-Wei Chang
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Defense Medical Center, Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
Republic of China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jmedsci.jmedsci_95_16

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Background: Scabies is an infectious inflammatory skin disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is also an immune-medicated inflammatory disease. Immune-mediated inflammatory processes result in the pathophysiologic mechanism in both diseases. Only a few studies have investigated the possible association between scabies and RA. Methods: This nationwide population-based study included 5135 patients with scabies as the study group; 19,115 people chosen from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan formed a control group. We tracked patients in both groups for 7 years to identify newly diagnosed cases of RA. Demographic characteristics and comorbidities were analyzed. Cox proportional hazards regressions were performed to calculate the hazard ratio (HR) of RA during the 7-year follow-up period. Results: Of the 24,250 patients enrolled in this study, 217 (0.9%) were diagnosed with RA during the 7-year follow-up period; 61 (1.2%) were from the scabies group and 156 (0.8%) were from the control group. The data showed that patients with scabies had a higher risk of subsequent RA, with an HR of 1.46 (95% confidence interval = 1.09–1.96). Conclusions: The results indicated an increased risk for RA among the patients with scabies infections. The data also showed that the assessment of RA symptoms should be included in the long-term follow-up of patients with scabies.


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