Acute rheumatic fever and its consequences: A persistent threat to developing nations in the 21st century

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34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is an autoimmune, multi-system response secondary to molecular mimicry following Lancefield group A streptococcus (GAS) pharyngitis; it is now most commonly found in the pediatric populations of developing nations. The major source of morbidity and mortality of ARF stems from rheumatic heart disease (RHD), although the cardinal symptoms of the disease also include polyarthritis, Sydenham's chorea, subcutaneous nodules, and erythema marginatum. Therapy is aimed towards treating the initial GAS infection, using anti-inflammatory medications for acute symptoms and surgery to correct RHD. Secondary prevention is crucial, given the high risk of recurrence, and includes long-term antibiotic prophylaxis. However, vaccination towards GAS may soon be on the horizon, which may assist in both decreasing the risk of initial infection in naïve patients and helping to lower the risk of recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Keywords

  • Group A streptococcus pharyngitis
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Sydenham's chorea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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