As originally described in 1916, Reiter’s syndrome is the clinical triad of conjunctivitis, nongonococcal urethritis, and arthritis following infectious dysentery.
For many years, ReA and Reiter’s syndrome were used as synonyms. This term is no longer used due to Hans Reiter’s participation in Nazi medical experimentation during World War II. The triad is now considered to be a subset of ReA because two-thirds of patients do not have all three features.
The triad of inflammatory arthritis, urethritis, and conjunctivitis and uveitis with or without mucocutaneous lesions that characterize reactive arthritis (Reiter’s syndrome) may develop 2 to 4 weeks after an acute urethritis or diarrheal illness. The frequency of the triad varies with the causative enteric organism:
- • Shigella, 85%
- • Yersinia, 10%
- • Salmonella, 10% to 15%
- • Campylobacter, 10%