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TRAPS: Tumor necrosis factor receptor associated periodic syndrome

What is TRAPS?

TRAPS is a very rare (affecting about 1 in 1 million people) autoinflammatory condition that belongs to a group of illnesses called inherited recurrent fever syndromes. More than 1,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with TRAPS.  It usually starts during early childhood.

What are the symptoms of TRAPS?

TRAPS flares can last a few days to a few months, but typically last about 3 weeks.

TRAPS flares are associated with the following symptoms:

  • Persistent fever
  • Abdominal and/or chest pain
  • Painful, red rash, usually on arms/legs
  • Swollen skin around the eyes
  • Joint and muscle pain

TRAPS flares usually occur spontaneously, but can also be triggered by:

  • Minor injury 
  • Infection
  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Hormonal changes

Possible symptoms of TRAPS illustration

Possible symptoms of TRAPS

What typically happens over the course of the illness?

About 15-20% of people with TRAPS develop a condition called amyloidosis.
Amyloidosis is a build-up of proteins in the kidneys, leading to kidney damage.

What causes TRAPS?

In TRAPS, activation of the innate immune system happens because of changes in a gene coding for an important structure (tumour necrosis factor receptor) involved in the inflammatory response.  The exact mechanism of how the changes in this gene modify the inflammatory response is still unclear.

The genetic change leading to TRAPS can be inherited from either parent. This means a child will develop the illness even if the genetic change came from only one parent.


1. US National Library of Medicine. TRAPS. Available from: Accessed January 17, 2017.
2. Lachmann HJ, Hawkins PN. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009; 11: 212.

Wondering how your life will change?

If you or your child has a rare disease, your life may look a little different than other people’s, and you may face added challenges or worries.  We’ve gathered some information and articles here that may help address a few of these. 

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