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Reactive Arthritis Causes

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Exposure to certain bacteria has been linked to reactive arthritis. The ones most commonly associated with reactive arthritis are:

  • Chlamydia trachomatis. It is spread through sexual contact. The infection may begin in the vagina, bladder or the urethra.
  • Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia and Campylobacter. These bacteria typically infect the gastrointestinal tract.

In rare cases, the bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae, which causes respiratory infections, may also cause reactive arthritis.

Doctors are not sure why some people exposed to these bacteria get the disease and others don’t. However, researchers have identified a gene, called human leukocyte antigen (HLA) B27, that makes a person more likely to get reactive arthritis. Not everyone who inherits this gene will get the disease.

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