Introduction: Acute rheumatic fever


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Acute rheumatic fever: Bacterial joint infection with risk of heart complications.

Acute rheumatic fever: Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is a complication of a strep throat caused by particular strains of GAS. Although common in developing countries, ARF is rare in the United States, with small isolated outbreaks reported only occasionally. It is most common among children between 5-15 years of age. A family history of ARF may predispose an individual to the disease. Symptoms typically occur 18 days after an untreated strep throat. An acute attack lasts approximately 3 months. The most common clinical finding is a migratory arthritis involving multiple joints. The most serious complication is carditis, or heart inflammation (rheumatic heart disease), as this may lead to chronic heart disease and disability or death years after an attack. Less common findings include bumps or nodules under the skin (usually over the spine or other bony areas) and a red expanding rash on the trunk and extremities that recurs over weeks to months. Because of the different ways ARF presents itself, the disease may be difficult to diagnose. A neurological disorder, chorea, can occur months after an initial attack, causing jerky involuntary movements, muscle weakness, slurred speech, and personality changes. Initial episodes of ARF as well as recurrences can be prevented by treatment with appropriate antibiotics.1

Researching symptoms of Acute rheumatic fever: Further information about the symptoms of Acute rheumatic fever is available including a list of symptoms of Acute rheumatic fever, other diseases that might have similar symptoms in differential diagnosis of Acute rheumatic fever, or alternatively return to research other symptoms in the symptom center.

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Causes of Acute rheumatic fever: Research more detailed information about the causes of Acute rheumatic fever, other possibly hidden causes of Acute rheumatic fever, or other general information about Acute rheumatic fever.

Statistics and Acute rheumatic fever: Various sources and calculations are available in statistics about Acute rheumatic fever, prevalence and incidence statistics for Acute rheumatic fever, and you can also research other medical statistics in our statistics center.

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Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Group A Streptococcal Infections, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID

Last revision: June 13, 2003

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