The Fifth Disease is a blog devoted primarily to Lupus news and advocacy, as well as to autoimmune diseases in general.

It’s written by a 43 year old male who was diagnosed with System Lupus Erythematosus in October 2011.

As is mentioned elsewhere, I named this blog ‘The Fifth Disease’ for two reasons:

  1. In the politics of war, a ‘Fifth Column’ is said to be a group of rebels or traitors who attack a nation from within — to me, this evokes the way autoimmune diseases such as Lupus attack healthy organs and tissue.
  2. It reminds me that despite being a serious and debilitating disease affecting millions of people worldwide, Lupus remains largely unknown in terms of public awareness.

As a comparison, the US National MS Society estimates there are approximately 400,000 people in the US suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, while the Lupus Society Of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans suffer from Lupus. Multiple Sclerosis is a very serious disease — I know this intimately as my partner has MS — but it’s striking to consider the relative difference between public awareness of Multiple Sclerosis versus that of Lupus.


  1. National MS Society: FAQs About MS –
  2. Lupus Foundation of America Inc: