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Reactive Arthritis

Abstract

You are reading a NORD Rare Disease Report Abstract. NORD’s full collection of reports on over 1200 rare diseases is available to subscribers (click here for details). We are now also offering two full rare disease reports per day to visitors on our Web site.

NORD is very grateful to John D. Carter, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Chief of Rheumatology, University of South Florida College of Medicine, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Reactive Arthritis

  • Fiessinger-Leroy disease
  • Reiter's syndrome

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Reactive arthritis is a general term for a form of joint inflammation (arthritis) that develops as a "reaction" to an infection in another area of the body (i.e., outside of the joints). Joint inflammation is characterized by redness, swelling, pain and warmth in and around the affected joint. In reactive arthritis, the large joints of the lower limbs and the sacroiliac joints are most often affected. Two other common symptoms of reactive arthritis are inflammation of the urinary tract and inflammation of the membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the eyelids (conjunctivitis). These three characteristic symptoms may occur separately, all at once or not at all. Additional symptoms such as fever, weight loss, lower back pain and heel pain may also occur. Reactive arthritis usually develops following a bout with certain bacterial infections including Chlamydia, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter.

Reactive arthritis belongs to a group of related disorders known as the spondyloarthropathies. These disorders are linked by the association of similar symptoms and a specific genetic marker called HLA-B27. Symptoms common to these disorders include arthritis, especially of the lower limbs, lower back pain and enthesitis, a condition characterized by inflammation at the spot where skeletal muscle attaches to bone. This group of disorders includes reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, undifferentiated spondyloarthritis and spondyloarthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

Reactive arthritis is a poorly defined disorder that has been described in the medical literature under many different names. No precise diagnostic or classification criteria have been developed that are universally agreed upon in the medical community.

Organizations related to Reactive Arthritis

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