In December 1916 Reiter1 in Germany and Fiessinger and Leroy2 in France independently described the symptom triad of arthritis, conjunctivitis and urethritis. The former ascribed the etiology to a spirochete, the latter to the dysentery bacillus. Perpetuated under the name of Reiter's disease, numerous cases have been described in many articles in the European literature.3 There are six articles4 in the American literature, none of which gives serious consideration to dysentery as a cause.
The study of 176 cases of bacillary dysentery observed in 1943 in Algeria revealed 14 cases of postdysenteric arthritis.5 Clinical and laboratory summaries of these cases are presented in the accompanying table.The group includes 1 woman (case 14), 1 Negro man (case 5) and 12 white men. The average age was 27 years. Of these 14 patients, there were only 4 who had arthritis alone (cases 11, 12, 13
YOUNG RH, McEWEN EG. BACILLARY DYSENTERY AS THE CAUSE OF REITER'S SYNDROME(Arthritis with Nonspecific Urethritis and Conjunctivitis). JAMA. 1947;134(17):1456–1459. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880340010003