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A 30-year-old member asked:

is rheumatic fever still occuring this century, in the u.s.?

1 doctor answer8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
YES: But infrequently. Strep throat is the predisposing factor, but since this has been treated aggressively by most doctors, we rarely see acute rheumatic fever. Last case i remember was 13 years ago.
Dr. Barton Cook
Dr. Barton Cook commented
Pediatric Cardiology 31 years experience
As a pediatric cardiologist I see a new case every 4-5 years.
Apr 2, 2012

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A member asked:

Are some people more prone to getting rheumatic fever?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
Yes: People who are living in close quarters to each other are more prone to infection with group a streptococci because it is passed from person to person this way. There is no known genetic predisposition, but certain strains of this bacteria produce a higher incidence of rheumatic fever in persons who get strep throat.
A 40-year-old member asked:

Are the symptoms of rheumatic fever bad?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
They may be very bad: The major features are inflammation affecting all parts of the heart, migratory arthritis of multiple joints, a rash called erythema marginatum, a nervous disorder called chorea, and subcutaneous nodules (rare), usually on the elbows, knees and over the spine. These are just non-tender pea-sized bumps.
A 45-year-old member asked:

At my last check up, I forgot to tell the doctor about rheumatic fever. Is that ok?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
Tell your doctor: Once you have had rheumatic fever, you are susceptible to repeat episodes with repeat strep infections, and you also should have your heart examined carefully and you may be at risk of heart valve infections.
A member asked:

Can rheumatic fever be cured?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
No: You treat the strep infection which caused it; you give ant-iinflammatory agents (aspirin, steroids, etc.), and you then give symptomatic treatment to control the complications (such as congestive heart failure, etc.). All these may modulate the disease, but not necessarily cure it.
A member asked:

Do a lot of people get rheumatic fever?

2 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
Depends: In the USA this has become very uncommon, but since it is no longer a reportable disease the statistics are not available, but prior to the 1970's when there were large outbreaks, the frequency was one per 100,000 population. Many doctors in the USA have never seen a case of rheumatic fever.

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Last updated Dec 22, 2014

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