Rheumatic diseases in Syrian refugee children: a retrospective multicentric study in Turkey

Karadağ Ş., Sönmez H., Demir F., Çakan M., Öztürk K., Tanatar A. , ...More

Rheumatology International, vol.40, pp.583-589, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00296-020-04534-3
  • Title of Journal : Rheumatology International
  • Page Numbers: pp.583-589


Since the Syrian civil war in 2011, an estimated number of 3.6 million Syrian refugees crossed into Turkey, and almost half of them were children. The distribution of rheumatic diseases in Syrian refugee children is not known. The aim of this study was to describe the profile of rheumatic diseases in Syrian refugee children living in Turkey. The demographic data, clinical and laboratory findings, medications, complications and outcome results of Syrian refugee children who had visited Pediatric Rheumatology Departments of University of Health Science Kanuni Sultan Suleyman Research and Training Hospital, umraniye Research and Training Hospital, Sanliurfa Research and Training Hospital, and Cengiz Gokcek Maternity and Gynecology Hospital between April 1, 2011, and September 1, 2019, were evaluated retrospectively. A total of 151 patients were included in the study. Among them, 51 patients had juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), 49 had familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), 43 had vasculitis, and 8 had connective tissue diseases. Homozygous M694V mutation was the most common mutation among FMF patients. Oligoarticular JIA (41.2%) was the most frequent type of JIA, and enthesitis-related arthritis (ERA) (27.5%) was the second one. The frequency of systemic JIA was 11.8%. One patient with SLE died due to complicated meningitis. This is the first study evaluating the distribution of rheumatic diseases in Syrian refugee children. Clinical follow-up of rheumatologic diseases is difficult in Syrian refugees due to language barriers, social and cultural differences. Health care systems should be well organized to provide appropriate care to asylum seekers.