Microbial factors in spondyloarthropathies: insights from population studies

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2003 Jul;15(4):408-12. doi: 10.1097/00002281-200307000-00006.


Infections and genetics play a role in the development of reactive arthritis. The clinical manifestations and severity of the features depend on the triggering infections and the epidemiologic setting. Reports from hospital-based series show the lowest frequency of reactive arthritis, but often, patients have severe arthritis associated with a high frequency of HLA-B27. At the population level, reactive arthritis occur in 7 to 15% of the infected subjects. The disease is usually mild, affects small joints, can be polyarticular, often rapidly disappears, and has a low association with HLA-B27. There also seems to be a change in the spectrum of triggering infections. Reports of Yersinia arthritis are less common, whereas arthritis in association with Campylobacter or Salmonella infections seems to be increasing. The role of early antimicrobial chemotherapy for the prevention of reactive arthritis needs to be studied.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Reactive / complications*
  • Arthritis, Reactive / epidemiology
  • Arthritis, Reactive / genetics
  • Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / genetics
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / classification
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / genetics
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / epidemiology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / genetics
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / microbiology*


  • HLA-B27 Antigen