REITER, Hans Conrad Julius
Dtsch. med. Wschr., 42, 1535-36, 1916.
“Reiter’s syndrome”, a disease of males characterized by initial diarrhea, urethritis, conjunctivitis, and arthritis. Reiter was a German Nazi physician and war criminal who conducted medical experiments at Buchenwald. He wrote a book on "racial hygiene" entitled Deutsches Gold, Gesundes Leben - Frohes Schaffen (1942)
"During World War I, Reiter worked first as a German military physician on the Western Front in France. While there, he cared for several soldiers suffering from Weil's disease, and made his first notable discovery that one of the causative bacteria were Leptospira icterohaemorrhagica, which had eluded culture methods and identification by other scientists ever since that disease had been recognized in 1886. Later, after being transferred to the Balkans, where he served in the 1st Hungarian Army, he reported a German lieutenant with non-gonococcal urethritis, arthritis, and uveitis that developed two days after a diarrheal illness and had a protracted course with relapses over several months. The combination of two of the elements, urethritis and arthritis, had been recognized in the 16th century, and the triad had first been reported by Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, an English surgeon who lived from 1783 to 1862. Separately from Reiter, the triad was also reported in 1916 by Fiessinger and Leroy. Reiter thought he saw a spirochete which he called Treponema forans, related to but distinct from Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis, and erroneously thought it was the cause, calling the disease Spirochaetosis Arthritica. The error probably was influenced by his previous discovery of Leptospira icterohaemorrhagica, and by his work on Treponema pallidum that later enabled others to develop the "Reiter Complement Fixation Test" for syphilis. Nevertheless, the eponym Reiter's syndrome was used for the disease he described, and the syndrome became widely known by that name."
"In 1977, a group of doctors began a campaign to replace the term "Reiter's syndrome" with "reactive arthritis". In addition to Reiter's war crimes, they pointed out that he was not the first to describe the syndrome, nor were his conclusions correct regarding its pathogenesis. Reiter incorrectly concluded that the triad of conjunctivitis, urethritis, and non-gonococcal arthritis was the result of a spirochetal infection and proposed the name "Spirochaetosis arthrosis". The group of doctors was joined by Dr. Ephraim Engleman, one of the authors on the first English-language journal article that used the term "Reiter's syndrome," who was still practicing 65 years later and had been unaware of his Nazi connections at the time he suggested the eponym. The campaign gradually gained momentum, and the term "Reiter's syndrome" has become increasingly anachronistic and has fallen out of favor." (Wikipedia article on Hans Reiter (physician), accessed 3-2020).
See also No. 6370.
Subjects: Conditions & Syndromes Not Classified Elsewhere, OPHTHALMOLOGY › Diseases of the Eye › Conjunctivitis, RHEUMATOLOGY › Arthritis