Rheumatic fever is an
inflammatory disease that may develop after an infection (strep throat or
scarlet fever) with group A Streptococcus bacteria. The disease can
affect the heart, joints, skin and brain.
Children in the age
group of 5 to 15 years are easy prey to this disease. The disease develops
usually within 1 to 5 weeks after throat infection.
The symptoms of
rheumatic fever result from inflammation in the heart, joints, skin or central
nervous system; and may include abdominal pain, fever, joint pain, skin nodules
The diagnosis of
rheumatic fever is based on physical examination (auscultation of the heart;
and skin and joint examination) and laboratory tests (ASO test, hemogram, ESR
with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications helps reduce tissue damage
from inflammation, lessen pain and other symptoms, and prevents the recurrence
of rheumatic fever.
Rheumatic fever is associated with the
development of heart valve disease and other heart disorders. This illness can
affect the normal lifestyle of the patient. The complication of the disease can
be very grave.
The Rheumatic Fever…begins with chilly fits; succeeded by increased heat; frequent pulse; thirst; loss of appetite; and prostration of strength. The symptom peculiar to this disease is an inflammation of the joints, which often increases to great violence, with swelling, soreness to the touch, and sometimes redness of the skin…. This is a very formidable and extremely painful disease, [and] generally continues for many weeks…. The consequences of this disorder are often painfully felt for many years. - John Haygarth, 1805