Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that may develop after an infection with streptococcus bacteria (such as strep throat or scarlet fever ) and can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain.

  1. Rheumatic fever begins about 19 days after the start of a streptococcal sore throat. There is fever and inflammation of one or more of the larger joints, with pain and swelling. As the symptoms become less severe in one joint they tend to start up in another. Sometimes several joints are affected at the same time.
  2. Rheumatic fever symptoms includes
  3. Fever
  4. Joint pain, migratory arthritis -- involving primarily knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists
  5. Joint swelling; redness or warmth
  6. Abdominal pain
  7. Skin rash (erythema marginatum)
  8. Skin eruption on the trunk and upper part of arms or legs
  9. Eruptions that are ring-shaped or snake-like in appearance
  10. Skin nodules
  11. Sydenham's chorea -- emotional instability, muscular weakness and rapid, uncoordinated jerky movements affecting primarily the face, feet and hands
  12. Epistaxis (nosebleeds)
  13. Cardiac (heart) involvement which may be asymptomatic or may result in shortness of breath, chest pain