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Reactive arthritis

Other Names for this Disease
  • PIRA
  • Post-infectious arthritis
  • Post-infectious reactive arthropathy
  • Reiter syndrome
  • Reiter's syndrome
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Reactive arthritis is a type of infectious arthritis that occurs as a “reaction” to an infection elsewhere in the body. This process may occur weeks or even months after the infection has resolved.[1][2] In addition to joint inflammation, reactive arthritis is associated with two other symptoms: redness and inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis) and inflammation of the urinary tract (urethritis). These symptoms may occur alone, together, or not at all. The symptoms of reactive arthritis usually last 3 to 12 months, although symptoms can return or develop into a long-term disease in a small percentage of people.[1] The exact cause of reactive arthritis is unknown. It may follow an infection with Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhimurium, Yersinia enterocolitica, Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium difficile, Shigella sonnei, Entamoeba histolytica, Cryptosporidium, or Chlamydia trachomatis. Certain genes may make you more prone to the syndrome.[1][2][3] For instance, the condition is observed more commonly in patients with human lymphocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27) histocompatibility antigens.[2] The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and treat any underlying infection. Antibiotics may be prescribed. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), pain relievers, and corticosteroids may be recommended for those with joint pain.[3] 
Last updated: 3/31/2012


  1. Arnett F, Clegg D, Inman R, Klippel JH, Mittleman B, Schumacher R, Tyree B. Questions and Answers about Reactive Arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). September 2011; Accessed 3/31/2012.
  2. Brusch JL. Septic Arthritis. eMedicine. July 2011; Accessed 3/31/2012.
  3. Gonter NJ. Reactive arthritis. MedlinePlus. June 2011; Accessed 3/31/2012.
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Basic Information

  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Reactive arthritis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.