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Reactive arthritis after an outbreak of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis serotype O:3 infection
  1. T Hannu1,
  2. L Mattila2,
  3. J P Nuorti4,
  4. P Ruutu4,
  5. J Mikkola4,
  6. A Siitonen3,
  7. M Leirisalo-Repo1
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland
  3. 3Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  4. 4Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr L Mattila, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Aurora Hospital, Building 5, 3rd Floor, PO Box 348, FIN-00029 HUCH, Finland;


Objective: To determine the occurrence and clinical characteristics of reactive arthritis (ReA) after an outbreak of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis serotype O:3 infection.

Methods: From 15 October to 6 November 1998, a widespread outbreak of Y pseudotuberculosis serotype O:3 occurred in Finland. A questionnaire on musculoskeletal symptoms was mailed to 38 patients with infection confirmed by culture. All patients who reported joint symptoms were interviewed by phone and their medical records of outpatient visits or hospital admission because of recent joint symptoms were reviewed.

Results: Thirty three of 38 (87%) patients returned the questionnaire. Reactive musculoskeletal symptoms were reported by 5/33 (15%): four patients (12%) fulfilled the criteria for ReA and one additional patient had reactive enthesopathy. The patients with ReA were adults (age range 40–47 years), whereas the patient with reactive enthesopathy was a 14 year old boy. In all patients with ReA, the arthritis was polyarticular. In addition to peripheral arthritis, other musculoskeletal symptoms included sacroiliitis (one patient), pain in Achilles tendon (one patient), and heel pain (two patients). HLA-B27 was positive in all the three patients tested. In three of four patients with ReA, the duration of acute arthritis was over six months.

Conclusion:Y pseudotuberculosis serotype O:3 infection is frequently associated with ReA and the clinical picture is severe.

  • reactive arthritis
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis
  • outbreak

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