Prevalence and clinical aspects of Behcet's disease in the north of Israel

Ilan Krause, Anna Yankevich, Abigail Fraser, Itzhak Rosner, Reuven Mader, Devy Zisman, Nina Boulman, Michael Rozenbaum, Abraham Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Behcet's disease (BD) has a higher prevalence in countries along the ancient silk route, but the actual prevalence in Israel is unknown. We evaluated the occurrence and clinical expression of BD in the northern region of Israel: in the whole population and by ethnic groups. The sample included all adult patients with BD (International Study Group criteria) treated at three medical centers in northern Israel. Patient data were collected by file review and physician survey. Relevant demographic data for the population served by the medical centers were obtained from the official Israeli authorities. A total of 112 patients were identified. The overall prevalence of BD was 15.2/100,000 and was similar in men and women. The prevalence rates among the Jewish, Arab, and Druze populations were 8.6, 26.2, and 146.4 per 100,000, respectively. Age at disease onset was similar in all ethnic groups and significantly lower in males (28.6+/-9.7 vs 32.9+/-11.3, p=0.03). There were no differences in disease manifestations by sex or ethnicity. All Druze patients were HLA-B5 positive, compared to 80.8% of the Arab patients and 72.0% of the Jewish patients. Recurrent oral ulcers in family members were more common in Arab patients (p=0.004). The BD severity index was significantly lower in Druze patients (p=0.05), mainly in males (p=0.03). This study confirms the high prevalence of BD in Israel and the variability in disease rates and expression by ethnic origin. Our findings, particularly regarding the Druze population, call for further field surveys and genetic studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-60
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Rheumatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Arabs
  • Behcet Syndrome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Jews
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index

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