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This phrase originates from the FOX show House, also known as House, M.D. The series revolves around the unconventional and misanthropic genius, doctor Gregory House, working with younger doctors at the Princeton‑Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) in New Jersey, in order to solve difficult health mysteries.
The phrase was coined when the younger doctors were suggesting a case of lupus, when they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the patient. Because lupus usually takes several years to be diagnosed, Dr. House usually says “It’s not lupus.” or “It’s never lupus.”. That was until the team actually ran into a case, where House had to admit there being an actual case of lupus.
The phrase is commonly used in situations involving the character of doctor House, but it can also used as a response in situations involving an illness. The phrase has also been associated with jokes involving wolves and other animals, due to the Latin family name Canis Lupus.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a shortened name of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Lupus is a chronic disease,which causes the body’s immune system to attack body cells. It most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system, and is often fatal, for there is no cure for lupus yet.
The reason why the doctors at PPTH is unable to determine whether a certain disease is lupus or not is because lupus often mimics or is mistaken for other illnesses. Lupus is known as one of the “great imitators” within diseases. Symptoms of lupus may vary widely and come and go unpredictably.
Read more about lupus
The biggest spike in searches for “It’s Not Lupus”, was in 2007, when the series was at its most popular phase. The search interest has diminished since 2009, but the searches are still somewhat common.