Rheumatic Fever (Pediatric)

What is rheumatic fever?

Rheumatic fever develops after infection with group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus bacteria, often 2-3 weeks after strep throat or scarlet fever. The heart, joints, skin, and brain may be affected.

How is rheumatic fever diagnosed?

Your rheumatologist may look for arthritis of large joints, evidence of heart inflammation, skin nodules, chorea (rapid movements), and skin rashes. Tests include:

  • Blood tests for evidence of strep infection
  • Measures for elevated blood counts, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein.
  • Echocardiogram

What is the treatment for rheumatic fever?

Treatment involves antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or corticosteroids.  Patients need prompt evaluation for cardiac involvement.  After the initial medical management of the acute stage, prevention of recurrences (especially within the first 5 years of an initial episode) may be advised with prescription of additional antibiotic regimens.