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Rheumatic fever

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that may develop after an infection with Streptococcus bacteria (such as strep throat or scarlet fever). The disease can affect the heart, joints, skin, and brain.

Rheumatic fever is common worldwide and is responsible for many cases of damaged heart valves. Rheumatic fever is not common in the United States, and usually occurs in isolated outbreaks. The latest outbreak was in the 1980s.

Rheumatic fever mainly affects children ages 6 -15, and occurs approximately 20 days after strep throat or scarlet fever.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Heart (cardiac) problems, which may not have symptoms, or may result in shortness of breath and chest pain
  • Joint pain, arthritis (mainly in the knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists)
  • Joint swelling, redness or warmth
  • Nosebleeds (epistaxis)
  • Skin nodules
  • Skin rash (erythema marginatum)
    • Skin eruption on the trunk and upper part of the arms or legs
    • Eruptions that look ring shaped or snake like
  • Sydenham chorea (emotional instability, muscle weakness and quick, uncoordinated jerky movements that mainly affect the face, feet, and hands)

For additional information, please click here http://www.mayoclinic.org/rheumatic-fever/

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