Is There an Urban-Rural Divide? Population Surveys of Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Pune Region of India Using the COPCORD Bhigwan Model
  Objective. To estimate urban prevalence of rheumatic musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders and compare to an earlier rural regional study.
Methods. We screened 8145 adults from a preselected urban locality in Pune, India, for MSK pain in a cross-sectional house-to-house survey (Stage I) over 20 weeks. The World Health Organization-International League ofAssociations for Rheumatology (WHO-ILAR) Community Oriented Program for Control of Rheumatic Diseases (COPCORD) Bhigwan model was used. Thirty trained community volunteers completed Phases I and II questionnaires, concurrent with rheumatology evaluation (Phase III). Clinical diagnosis was based on standard diagnosis/classification criteria. Point prevalence rates from our survey and the earlier Bhigwan village (Pune district) survey were standardized (adjusted age-sex to India population census 2001) and are reported for osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), seronegative spondyloarthritis (SSA), and inflammatory arthritis (IA).
Results. One thousand one hundred fifty-two urban cases (65% women) were identified (14.1%, 95% confidence interval 13.4, 14.9). The self-reported pain sites (Phase II) were hip (0.4), knees (6.3), ankle (1.9), feet (0.7), shoulders (2), hands (1.3), wrist (1.2), neck (1.9), upper back (1.7), low back (5.5), thigh (1.5), calf (1.4), and sole (0.8); corresponding rural sites being hip (1.1), knees (13.7), ankle (7), feet (1.6), shoulders (7.9), hands (6.3), wrist (6.9), neck (6.8), upper back (8.4), low back (12.6), thigh (4.8), calf (7.1) and sole (2.2). OA disorders, soft tissue rheumatism (STR) and illdefined aches and pains were predominant in both surveys; < 10% reported IA. The major disorders among urban cases were OA (4), STR (1.2), RA (0.2, ACR criteria 1988), undifferentiated IA (0.3), SSA (0.3), and gout (0.06); corresponding rates in Bhigwan were OA (6.3), STR (3.8), RA (0.5),
undifferentiated IA (0.8), SSA (0.3), and gout (0.1). Infections were conspicuously absent. Conclusion.While similar in spectrum, standardized prevalence rates of self-reported pain sites and rheumatic MSK disorders were significantly lower in the urban (current Pune COPCORD surveys) versus rural (Bhigwan) community, and in both communities aches and pains that are poorly understood by modern science were predominant.
(First Release Feb 1 2009; J Rheumatol 2009; 36:614–22; doi:10.3899/ jrheum.080675)