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Symptoms and Signs of Rheumatic Fever

Doctor's Notes on Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever is a complication of strep throat caused by infections with group A streptococcal bacteria that can cause damage to the heart, brain, joints, and skin.

The main symptom of rheumatic fever is a fever (usually under 102 F) one to five weeks after a bout of strep throat. Other symptoms of rheumatic fever include joint swelling and pain (arthritis, often in the large joints such as knees, shoulders, and hips), heart problems (inflammation and eventual destruction of heart valves that can lead to heart failure), Sydenham's chorea (sudden involuntary movements of muscles due to irritation of specific areas of the brain), skin problems (erythema marginatum, a pink rash that looks serpentine and surrounds areas of normal looking skin), and round and painless lumps over bones such as the knees and elbows.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Strep (Streptococcal) Throat Infection : Test Your Infectious Disease IQ Quiz

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.