Infections That Lead To Arthritis

Today we bring you another update from the European Rheumatology Conference (EULAR). Certain types of infections can lead to arthritis, such as Lyme Disease and Chikungunya.

Lyme disease, which is spread through deer ticks, has become more prevalent over the last several years, specifically in north eastern areas of North America. Among the many consequences of this disease, including skin lesions, joints can also be affected. Often inflammation in joints occurs with redness and extensive swelling where the knee is the most common area. However a shoulder, ankle elbow, wrist, hip or a joint of the hands or feet could be involved. Normally, less than five joints would affected. Methotrexate has shown to have the most promise in putting the arthritis under control and may only need to be used for a short period until the arthritis is in remission. Untreated, Lyme disease arthritis can resolve on its own but it may take several years. 

Chikungunya is a viral infection spread through a specific type mosquito. It has spread from South America and the Caribbean although some cases have been locally detected in Florida and Texas. It starts with a fever which is often followed by an arthritis which can be extremely painful and disabling, affecting multiple joints in the hands and feet. There is no antiviral treatment available and therefore rest, fluids and anti-inflammatories have been the main treatment. It appears that after the infection is gone the arthritis can remain. Methotrexate seems to be the best therapy in controlling this type of arthritis.


Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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