Seronegative Bilateral Symmetrical Inflammatory Polyarthritis: Think Twice Before Starting Immunosuppression
KeywordsSeronegative rheumatoid arthritis, leprosy
The most common cause of bilateral symmetrical polyarthritis in the small joints is rheumatoid arthritis. However, if seronegative arthritis is involved, it could be the case that other underlying causes need to be diagnosed. This is particularly important for those coming from or living in developing countries where infectious causes should always be considered. The case of a young Nepali woman is presented in this article. She was referred as a case of seronegative rheumatoid arthritis for DMARDs therapy but this was not the case due to her origin from Nepal and seronegativity for RF, Anti-ccp, and ANA as well as faint macular skin lesions over her face and upper extremities, which the patients are not aware of. Consequently, skin biopsy was carried out which subsequently confirmed that the infectious cause of her polyarthritis was leprosy.
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