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Reykjavík Mayor Hit By Rare Disease: Dagur Suffers From Reactive Arthritis

Reykjavík Mayor Hit By Rare Disease: Dagur Suffers From Reactive Arthritis

Noemi Ehrat
Words by
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published August 8, 2018

Dagur B. Eggertsson, who has been the Mayor of Reykjavík since June 2014, has been diagnosed with reactive arthritis after a trip to Russia to support the men’s national football team, Fréttablaðið reports.

“I hit my foot against a pipe at Rostov airport and initially thought that my foot was broken.”

In an extensive interview with Fréttablaðið, Dagur opened up about finding out about his sickness and the consequences that come with it. “I hit my foot against a pipe at Rostov airport and initially thought that my foot was broken,” he said. “The next day, I was watching my sons’ football game in the Westman Islands and the pain just got worse and worse and my wrist and my whole left hand started to swell up.” That was when Dagur decided to consult doctors on the matter, and was diagnosed with reactive arthritis.

Mayor with staff

Dagur, himself a doctor, explains that this kind of rare arthritis is a delayed attack of the immune system that affects joints and various organs. “It’s likely the result from a rather serious infection I had in my abdomen last year,” Dagur says. Immediate consequences of the arthritis are inflammation, pain and impaired mobility, which causes the 46-year old mayor to rely on a cane to walk. However, this didn’t keep Dagur from participating in last weekend’s annual SlutWalk nor in yesterday’s first day of Reykjavík Pride ceremonies.

Stress-related?

While Dagur doesn’t think that the stressful elections last month influenced the outbreak of the arthritis, he wonders what role stress might have played. “It’s simply impossible to say,” he says. “People can just get follow-up infections, even if they are not in a crazy election campaign or exposed to a different kind of stress.”

 

Optimism, perseverance, patience

Despite the illness coming as a shock, Dagur remains optimistic. “It’s a new reality I have to face,” he told Fréttablaðið. He hopes to get the arthritis under control within a few months with the help of medication and has already been researching the matter. “It’s not certain whether the illness is chronic or not. I truly hope not. It will have to become clear over time,” he said. “It’s not a life-threatening disease, and there are many people who have very severe arthritis and life-threatening diseases.”

The mayor believes a mix of optimism, perseverance and patience will help him. Nevertheless, he doesn’t know yet what the long-term effects of the reactive arthritis will be, and only time will tell if the condition will impact on his role as the mayor of Reykjavík.


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