Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Rheumatic Fever Overview

What is rheumatic fever?
A person with rheumatic fever has inflammation of the heart and joints, caused by an infection with Streptococcus bacteria. Rheumatic fever may occur about 2-3 days after an episode of strep throat. For some reason, after the Streptococcal infection, the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissue. Inflammation occurs in multiple areas of the body, including the joints, heart, skin, and central nervous system. Rheumatic fever is rare in the US.

What are the symptoms of rheumatic fever?
Symptoms of rheumatic fever include a fever, joint pains, joint swelling, rash, muscle spasms, chest pain, and skin lumps under the skin over the elbows, wrists, or knees. The rash consists of large, red or pink spots over the trunk and limbs.

How does the doctor treat rheumatic fever?
Treatment for rheumatic fever includes antibiotics, aspirin, and oral corticosteroid medications. Treatment may also require valve replacement, for those who have damaged heart valves from rheumatic fever.

Continue to Rheumatic Fever Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Rheumatic Fever References
  1. Carapetis JR, McDonald M, Wilson NJ. Acute rheumatic fever. Lancet. 2005 Jul 9-15;366(9480):155-68. [16005340]
  2. Cilliers AM, Manyemba J, Saloojee H. Anti-inflammatory treatment for carditis in acute rheumatic fever. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(2):CD003176. [12804454]
  3. Lennon D. Acute rheumatic fever in children: recognition and treatment. Paediatr Drugs. 2004;6(6):363-73. [15612837]
  4. Manyemba J, Mayosi BM. Penicillin for secondary prevention of rheumatic fever. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(3):CD002227. [12137650]
  5. Roodpeyma S, Kamali Z, Zare R. Rheumatic fever: the relationship between clinical manifestations and laboratory tests. J Paediatr Child Health. 2005 Mar;41(3):97-100. [15790318]
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