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10/24/23 Public Health Education Topic: Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever (acute rheumatic fever) is a condition that can affect the heart, joints, brain, and skin. Rheumatic fever can develop if strep throat, scarlet fever, and strep skin infections are not treated properly.

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory condition:

Rheumatic fever is a condition that can inflame or make the heart, joints, brain, and skin swell. Rheumatic fever is thought to be an immune response to an earlier infection.

As the body’s defense system, the immune system is important in fighting off infections. But when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy parts of the body, it causes inflammation (swelling).

How you get rheumatic fever:

Rheumatic fever may develop if strep throat or scarlet fever infections are not treated properly or after strep skin infections (impetigo). Bacteria called group A Streptococcus (group A strep) cause these infections. It usually takes about 1 to 5 weeks after one of these infections for rheumatic fever to develop.

Rheumatic fever is not contagious:

People cannot catch rheumatic fever from someone else because it is an immune response and not an infection. However, people with a group A strep infection can spread the bacteria to others.

To learn more visit: Rheumatic Fever: All You Need to Know | CDC

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