The Role of Bacteria and Genetics in Reactive Arthritis: Is It Contagious?

Bacteria and Genetics -- What's the Relationship?

Reactive arthritis research scientists do not know exactly why some people exposed to these bacteria develop reactive arthritis and others do not, but they have identified a genetic factor, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) B27, that increases a person's chance of developing it.
 
Approximately 80 percent of people with reactive arthritis test positive for HLA-B27. However, inheriting the HLA-B27 gene does not necessarily mean you will get reactive arthritis. Eight percent of healthy people have this gene, and only about one-fifth of them will develop reactive arthritis if they contract the triggering infections.
 

Is Reactive Arthritis Contagious?

Reactive arthritis is not contagious; that is, a person with the disorder cannot pass it on to someone else. However, the bacteria that can cause reactive arthritis can be passed from person to person.
 
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