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Open Badges Editorial

How can we reduce the risk of serious infection for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus?

Diane L Kamen

Author Affiliations

Division of Rheumatology, Medical University of South Carolina, 96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Suite 912, Charleston, South Carolina, SC 29425-2229, USA

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:129  doi:10.1186/ar2818

See related research by Ruiz-Irastorza et al.,

Published: 28 October 2009


Infection is responsible for approximately 25% of all deaths in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), making it a leading cause of mortality among patients. Ruiz-Irastorza and colleagues, in a recent issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy, report the clinical predictors of major infections found in a prospective study of patients with SLE. Similar patterns of infection and pathogens as reported in previous studies were seen; what is striking, however, was the protective effect seen with anti-malarial use. Many infections in patients with SLE could be prevented with timely vaccinations, reducing exposure to contagious contacts, screening for latent infections, minimizing exposure to corticosteroids, targeted prophylaxis for high risk patients, and, unless contraindicated, anti-malarial therapy as standard of care.