Health Mondays: A Focus On Rheumatic Fever

Health Mondays: A Focus On Rheumatic Fever Kenya

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory(swelling) condition that may affect the joints, heart, skin and brain. 

It normally develops as a complication of throat infection(strep throat/scarlet fever) by a certain bacterium called group A streptococcus.

This happens mostly due to lack or under-treatment of the throat infection by the group A streptococcus bacterium. 

Rheumatic fever on average develops 2 to 4 weeks after the throat infection.

The group A streptococcus bacterium has a certain protein in it similar to one also present in human tissues.

This will bring "confusion" in certain cells known as antibodies that normally protects us from infection, resulting into a certain state known as autoimmunity.

In autoimmunity, our body's antibodies starts destroying/fighting our normal cells accidentally as it fights the group A streptococcus. 

This may later give rise to several organs damage if not treated.

Rheumatic Fever Symptoms

  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Joints pain.
  • Swollen/tender joints.
  • Chest  pain.
  • Uncoordinated body movements/emotional outbursts(this happens once there is brain involvement, the condition is known as Sydenham chorea).

Rheumatic Fever Risk Factors

  • Environmental(overcrowded places/poor sanitation).
  • Untreated or under treated group A streptococcus bacterium infection.
  • Family(certain people have an inheritable gene that highly predisposes them to develop rheumatic fever when infected by the streptococcus).


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