Rheumatic Fever: overview, symptoms and treatment

Rheumatic Fever is considered to be the diseases immune system or collagen system. So far, the disease is common worldwide the developing countries and is responsible for many cases of damaged heart valves in young people.

Rheumatic fever mainly affects children ages 6 -15, but many cases occur at the age of 20.

Rheumatic fever is responsible for many cases of damaged heart valves

Symptoms of 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.

  • 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)

Rheumatic fever treatment

Penicillin is used to eradicate the bacteria which initially caused the immunologic response. Some patients who are penicillin-allergic, can have other options such as erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone) or azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax)

The joint pains are treated with aspirin or aspirin-related medications. It may be necessary to use very high doses to decrease the symptoms.

To prevent recurrent rheumatic fever in persons who have already had one episode, monthly injections of a long-lasting preparation of penicillin can be effective.

Treating Sydenham chorea (SD): For people with the mildest form, bed rest during the period of active movements is sufficient.  When the severity of movements interferes with rest, sedative drugs, such as barbiturates or benzodiazepines, may be needed.  Antiepileptic medications, such as valproic acid, are often prescribed

How to prevent Rheumatic fever?

The only known way to prevent rheumatic fever is to treat strep throat infections or scarlet fever promptly with a full course of appropriate antibiotics.

For the children, parents should teach children good hygiene, keep them from get cold. Improving physical measures are also important in disease prevention. Once children have signs of upper respiratory tract infection, they should be treated radically as soon as possible. If there are signs of joint pain should immediately take the child to the medical doctor.



Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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