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Ann Rheum Dis. 1997 Jan;56(1):22-6.

Gout is on the increase in New Zealand.

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Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Rotorua, New Zealand.



To determine the current prevalence of hyperuricaemia and gout in New Zealand Maori and Europeans for comparison with previous studies.


342 Maori and 315 European men and women aged 15 years and older were studied by personal interview and a musculoskeletal system examination. The 1977 ARA criteria for gout in a survey setting were used and serum uric acid was determined by a uricase method. The data were compared with those of previous New Zealand studies.


Gout was significantly more common in Maori (6.4%) than Europeans (2.9%) (delta = 3.6%, 95% confidence interval 0.4 to 6.8) and in Maori men (13.9%) than in European men (5.8%) (delta = 8.1%, 95% CI 1.0 to 15.2). Hyperuricaemia was significantly more common in Maori men (27.1%) than in European men (9.4%) (delta = 17.7%, 95% CI 8.3 to 27.1) and in Maori women (26.6%) than in European women (10.5%) (delta = 16.1%, 95% CI 8.5 to 23.7). At least 14% of hyperuricaemic individuals were receiving diuretics, of whom 78% were women. Comparison with previous studies shows that the prevalence of gout has increased in both Maori and Europeans, particularly in men. In Maori men the prevalence of gout has risen from 4.5-10.4% previously to 13.9%, and in European men from 0.7%-2.0% previously to 5.8%. Clinical differences included a stronger family history, earlier age at onset, and a higher frequency of tophi and polyarticular gout in Maori than Europeans. Of those with gout, 62% of Maori and 63% of Europeans were hyperuricaemic on the day surveyed and six (19.4%) were on diuretics. Treatment of gout was inadequate in most cases.


Hyperuricaemia and gout remain common among Maori. Of concern is that the prevalence of gout appears to be on the increase, not only in Maori but also in Europeans in New Zealand.

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