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[Perspectives] Systemic lupus erythematosus

Lupus comes from a Latin word that means wolf—an apt metaphor for the history of this savage and elusive condition. How did a painfully erosive rash, likened to cancer and then tuberculosis, become a chronic systemic disorder? Teasing out the details of this transformation shows how different ways of ordering medical knowledge and practice have framed a series of radically different disease entities under the same resonant name.