Rheumatic fever is a specific type of reactive arthritis that reacts to group A Streptococcus bacteria that causes strep throat. This inflammatory condition is the body's response to having had a strep infection. Though many people believe that rheumatic fever is a condition of the past, there are still many documented cases of this condition each year.
Symptoms of rheumatic fever include:
To diagnose rheumatic fever, your child’s rheumatologist will verify that your child has previously had strep throat. The doctor can do this by reviewing your child’s medical records for a positive strep test or by running a blood test to look for antibodies related to strep throat.
Your child’s doctor may also run one or more of the following tests to diagnosis rheumatic fever:
Of the above symptoms, it is most important for the carditis to be treated as soon as possible to avoid damage to the heart and heart valves. Pediatric rheumatologists are experienced in diagnosing rheumatic fever so treatment can begin quickly.
The joint problems associated with rheumatic fever will often go away without treatment. However, to avoid long-term damage to the heart, it is important that you and your child follow the pediatric rheumatologist’s treatment plan.
Your child’s doctor will likely prescribe the following to treat rheumatic fever:
Your child’s rheumatologist will likely recommend a follow-up care plan to monitor your child’s heart and make sure the rheumatic fever has not caused any long-term damage. It is important that you and your child follow this plan.
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