Objective: During the last 5 years we observed a significant decrease in the incidence of newly established cases of Reiter's syndrome (reactive arthritis) in Greek Army personnel. Our study was initiated to validate this observation and to evaluate a possible change in the prevalence of Reiter's syndrome (RS) associated infections.
Methods: The case records of patients with reactive arthritis (ReA) admitted during the periods 1980-83 and 1989-92 at a large Army Hospital were studied retrospectively and the cases of RS were reviewed. In addition, the prevalence of cases with urethritis and dysentery that presented to the hospital in the same periods was studied in retrospect, as these infections are known to participate in the etiopathogenesis of RS.
Results: A significant decrease in the overall incidence of the randomly presented RS cases during the second 4 year period was detected (27 versus 4 cases, p < 0.0001, chi 2 test). A similar significant decrease in the number of cases with gonococcal and nongonococcal urethritis was observed while the prevalence of dysentery was not significantly altered during the defined intervals.
Conclusion: We suggest that the anti-AIDS campaign which began after the years 1984-85 is the principal cause of the observed change of epidemiology of RS cases appearing in the Greek Army.