Reactive arthritis (Reiter's Syndrome)

Reactive arthritis, also formerly known as Reiter's syndrome, is an inflammatory disease that affects various parts of the body, including the joints, eyes, skin and genitourinary tract.


Reactive arthritis is a rare disease, with an incidence of about 1 to 4 cases per 100,000 people per year.

It most frequently affects young men, mostly under 40 years of age.

Reactive arthritis is more common in people who have certain specific genes that increase the risk of developing the disease, especially human leukocyte antigen (HLA) B27.


Reactive arthritis is triggered by an infection, usually a gastrointestinal or urogenital infection caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Chlamydia and Campylobacter.

In some cases, the infection may trigger an exaggerated immune response that attacks body tissues, including the joints, eyes and skin.

The HLA-B27 gene also plays an important role in the development of the disease, although it is not known exactly how.


The diagnosis of reactive arthritis is based on the patient's symptoms and clinical history, including a history of gastrointestinal or urogenital infection.

Laboratory tests are also performed to detect the presence of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein and rheumatoid factor.

Imaging tests, such as radiography, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, can help identify joint damage and other structural changes.


Treatment of reactive arthritis focuses on controlling symptoms and treating the underlying cause of the disease.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain.

In severe or persistent cases, immune modulating drugs, such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic agents, may be necessary to control symptoms and prevent long-term joint damage.

Physical and occupational therapy may also be helpful in improving joint function and the patient's quality of life.