Epidemiology of rheumatic disease in rural Thailand: a WHO-ILAR COPCORD study. Community Oriented Programme for the Control of Rheumatic Disease

J Rheumatol. 1998 Jul;25(7):1382-7.


Objective: To determine the prevalence rates of musculoskeletal disorders in a rural population of Thailand.

Methods: Nurses applied the WHO-ILAR COPCORD Core Questionnaire to 2463 rural subjects 15 years of age and over. Respondents who had current musculoskeletal pain were examined by 2 rheumatologists within one week after the interview survey. Radiographic and serologic examinations were carried out when required to classify categories of rheumatic disease.

Results: Response rates of the interview survey and examination were 99.7 and 94.2%, respectively. Musculoskeletal pain ever by interview was found in 36.2% of respondents. Of these, 22.7, 12.5, 6.5, and 5% had back, knee, hip region, and neck pain, respectively. Four hundred thirty-one cases (17.6%) who had musculoskeletal pain within 7 days of the interview were examined by rheumatologists, who confirmed 12.8, 5.7, 0.08, and 3.4% had back, knee, hip, and neck abnormalities, respectively. Four hundred fifty-eight (18.6%) had past musculoskeletal pain. Total disability rate was 3%, comprising 3.3% in women and 2.6% in men. Treatment rates by self-medication for current and past musculoskeletal pain were 60.3% in women, 65.7% in men. Therapy was by physician 52.1%, paramedics 9.7%, and masseur 6.8%. The rates of disease prevalence were osteoarthritis 11.3%, myofascial pain syndrome 6.3%, low back pain 4.0%, arthralgia 3.2%, gout 0.16%, rheumatoid arthritis and seronegative spondyloarthropathy each 0.12%, and mixed connective tissue disease and unclassified autoimmune disease each 0.04%.

Conclusion: Back and knee pain caused the greatest burdens of disease, resulting mostly from joint degeneration.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rheumatic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Rural Health
  • Thailand / epidemiology
  • World Health Organization