Estimation of the Prevalence of Rheumatic Diseases in Israel

Michael Yaron, Dan Caspi, Ilana Kaufman, Mina Zemach, Itamar Grotto, Roy Altman

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Objectives: To study the prevalence of rheumatic diseases in Israel by applying the Community Oriented Program for the Control of Rheumatic Diseases core questionnaire (CCQ). Methods: Representative samples (total of 2520 people) of the Israeli Jewish population aged ≥20 were surveyed for rheumatic complaints on 4 separate occasions by the CCQ telephone interview. The findings of the telephone interview were compared with a face-to-face interview and to rheumatologist examination, in 2 separate stages. Results: The telephone applied CCQ had a sensitivity level of 88.6% and specificity of 70.0% when compared with the rheumatologist evaluation (κ = 0.576) (P < 0.001). A lower prevalence of rheumatic complaints was found in the summer months (17.7%) than in winter months (26.2%, P < 0.01). Prevalence was related to country of origin (0.008 < P < 0.03) (P range in separate surveys) and increasing age (P < 0.001) and was higher in women than in men (0.003 < P < 0.043). Body sites most affected were the lower back (63%) and the knees (47%). Medically related unemployment was more common in those with rheumatic complaints (7.9%) than in those without such complaints (2.9%, P < 0.01). Among those with rheumatic ailments, 12.7% had a related discapacity recognized by the Israeli National Insurance Institute. Conclusions: The telephone applied CCQ was reliable in screening for rheumatic complaints. Rates for rheumatic complaints in Israel were similar to those in some other countries. Rheumatic complaints were common, age- and gender-related, associated with work discapacity, and with country of origin. This is the first longitudinal prevalence survey of rheumatic complaints in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-478
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Epidemiology
  • Israel
  • Jewish population
  • Prevalence of rheumatic diseases
  • Survey
  • Validation of COPCORD questionnaire


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