By the President of the United States of America
Lupus erythematosus is an increasingly serious connective tissue disease, affecting 500 thousand Americans, mostly young women. There are an estimated 50,000 new victims each year stricken by this disease.
In the systemic form, lupus attacks the entire body and its diverse organ systems, destroying connective tissue in the kidney, heart, and other vital organs. A major feature of the disease is redness of the skin, particularly the appearance of a butterfly-like rash that is often sensitive to light. Additional manifestations of lupus include fever, arthritis, pleurisy, pneumonia, blood abnormalities, heart disease, and central nervous system dysfunction. As its name suggests, this "lupine" disease ravishes the total body in a relentless clinical course and frequently costs its victims their lives in early adulthood.
Although the cause of lupus is not known, the prognosis for patients has vastly improved in recent years. In 1955 the survival rate for lupus victims was 50 percent four years after diagnosis. Now, more than 80 percent of lupus patients are treated successfully during the ten years after their disease has been identified. This increased survival is due to a number of factors including greater awareness of the disease, better diagnostic methods, and development of more effective drug therapies.
The outlook is far from bleak, but greater awareness of the disease and new approaches for improved treatment and diagnosis are needed in order to eliminate lupus as a cause of human suffering and to improve the quality of life in our society for its victims.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of September 16 through September 22, 1979 as National Lupus Week. I invite the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and officials of other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to issue similar proclamations.
I urge the people of the United States and educational, philanthropic, scientific, medical, and health care organizations and professions to provide the necessary assistance and resources to discover the cause and cure of lupus erythematosus and to alleviate the suffering of all persons struck by this disorder.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:51 p.m., September 10, 1979]