What Are the Causes of Rheumatic Fever?

Q:
What are the causes of rheumatic fever?

A:
Rheumatic fever is caused by group A Streptococcus. This bacterium causes strep throat or, in a small percentage of people, scarlet fever. It’s an inflammatory disorder.

The body produces antibodies to fight the bacteria, but instead the antibodies attack a different target: the body’s own tissues. The antibodies begin with the joints and often move on to the heart and surrounding tissues. Because only a small fraction (fewer than 0.3%) of people with strep throat ever contract rheumatic fever, medical experts say that other factors, such as a weakened immune system, must also be involved in the development of the disease.

If your child receives prompt treatment with an antibiotic to eliminate strep bacteria and takes all medication as prescribed, there’s little chance of developing rheumatic fever. If your child has one or more episodes of strep throat or scarlet fever that aren’t treated or not treated completely, he or she might develop rheumatic fever.

Keyword: rheumatic fever cause

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.