Reactive arthritis (ReA) can be defined as the development of sterile inflammatory arthritis as a sequel to remote infection, often in the gastrointestinal or urogenital tract. Although no generally agreed-upon diagnostic criteria exist, the diagnosis is mainly clinical, and based on acute oligoarticular arthritis of larger joints developing within 2-4 weeks of the preceding infection. According to population-based studies, the annual incidence of ReA is 0.6-27/100,000. In addition to the typical clinical picture, the diagnosis of ReA relies on the diagnosis of the triggering infection. Human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-B27 should not be used as a diagnostic tool for a diagnosis of acute ReA. In the case of established ReA, prolonged treatment of Chlamydia-induced ReA may be of benefit, not only in the case of acute ReA but also in those with chronic ReA or spondylarthropathy with evidence of persisting chlamydia antigens in the body. In other forms of ReA, there is no confirmed evidence in favour of antibiotic therapy to shorten the duration of acute arthritis. The outcome and prognosis of ReA are best known for enteric ReA, whereas studies dealing with the long-term outcome of ReA attributable to Chlamydia trachomatis are lacking.
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