In the county of Klaksvik, the Faroes, a simple hand test was used for screening all inhabitants between the ages of 40 and 74 years. With its high sensitivity and specificity it revealed a diagnostic panorama entirely different from that seen in previous investigations in other nordic countries. In Klaksvik the prevalence of hand handicap was about 40%, which is due to the high incidence of osteoarthrosis. The prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis was 1.1%. The high functional capacity and the lower occurrence of rheumatic nodules and erosions found in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis as compared with previous studies suggest that the disease takes a milder course in Klaksvik. This should support the hypothesis that RA patients benefit from a diet rich in fish.