Reiter’s syndrome

A condition in which there is a combination of urethritis, reactive arthritis, and conjunctivitis. There may also be uveitis. Reiter’s syndrome is more common in men. The syndrome is caused by an immune response and usually develops only in people with a genetic predisposition. Most patients have the HLA-B27 tissue type (see histocompatability antigens). The syndrome’s development is induced by infection: usually nongonococcal urethritis, but sometimes bacillary dysentery. Reiter’s syndrome usually starts with a urethral discharge, which is followed by conjunctivitis and then arthritis. The arthritis usually affects 1 or 2 joints (usually the knee and/or ankle) and is often associated with fever and malaise. Attacks can last for several months. Tendons, ligaments, and tissue in the soles of the feet may also become inflamed. Skin rashes are common. Diagnosis is made from the symptoms. Analgesic drugs and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs relieve symptoms but may have to be taken for a long period. Relapses occur in about 1 in 3 cases.


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