(BMJ module on STIs)
My name is (almost) a disease, it seems. Reactive arthritis is a sterile arthritis triggered by an infection elsewhere, typically urogenital or gastrointestinal, and SARA stands for sexually acquired reactive arthritis, most often triggered by chlamydia.
Reactive arthritis usually shows up 2 – 4 weeks after the triggering infection. Other symptoms associated with reactive arthritis include:
- Urethritis (not surprisingly)
- Conjunctivitis (the combination of urethritis, arthritis and conjunctivitis used to be referred to as Reiter’s syndrome, but the term has now been dropped)
- Circinate balanitis or vulvitis – shallow painless ulcers
- Mouth ulcers
- Skin reactions, such as keratoderma blennorrhagica (say what now?)
- Cardiac, renal, or neurological involvement
It normally resolves in 3 – 12 months, but the course is variable and around 15 – 20% will develop chronic disabling symptoms (e.g. arthritis or eye inflammation).