Is reactive arthritis the same as viral-associated arthritis?
No, viral-associated or post-viral arthritis is different to reactive arthritis. In this condition joint pains develop at the same time that a person is suffering from a virus infection or following vaccination against a virus. Viral-associated arthritis usually clears up within a few weeks, whereas reactive arthritis can last for several months.
One of the common causes of viral-associated arthritis is parvovirus infection. In children, parvovirus may cause an outbreak of slapped cheek syndrome (fever and rash on the cheeks) that can be easily spread through a school and doesn’t usually cause joint problems in the children. Adults who’ve been in contact with the children suffering from parvovirus, such as teachers, may develop parvovirus arthritis.
The most important thing to remember about viral-associated arthritis is that it usually only lasts a few days or weeks and doesn’t return or cause long-term problems. However, viruses can sometimes result in reactive arthritis.