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Definition:

Viral arthritis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the joints from a viral infection.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Arthritis may be a symptom of many virus-related illnesses. It usually disappears on its own without any lasting effects.

It may occur with:

It may also occur after immunization with the rubella vaccine. This is a common form of childhood joint discomfort.

While many people are infected with these viruses or receive the rubella vaccine, only a few people develop arthritis. No risk factors have been established.



Symptoms:

The main symptoms are joint pain and swelling of one or more joints.



Signs and tests:

A physical examination shows joint inflammation . A blood test (serology ) for viruses may be performed.



Treatment:

Your doctor may prescribe pain medicines to relieve discomfort.

If joint inflammation is severe, aspiration of fluid from the affected joint may relieve pain.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

The outcome is usually good. Most viral arthritis disappears within several days or weeks when the virus-related disease goes away.



Complications:

There are usually no complications.



Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if arthritis symptoms last longer than a few weeks.



Prevention:

There is no known way to prevent viral arthritis.



References:

Sargent JS. Polyarticular arthritis. In: Harris Ed, Budd Rc, Genovese MC, Firestein GS, Sargent JS, Sledge CB, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005: chap 35.




Review Date: 9/17/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, Phd, MD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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