Rheumatic Fever is very uncommon in developed countries, but there are many cases in Africa, Asia. An untreated bacterial throat infection triggers the illness. The symptoms appear as the body's immune system struggles to fight off the infection. The body produces antibodies to fight the bacteria, but these may attack vital tissues in the heart and joints. No cure is available but there some steps to take that relieve symptoms and lower the risk of serious health damage. Even after successful treatment, the illness often returns and further care becomes necessary. It is possible to treat patients at home in many cases.
Rheumatic fever appears four or five weeks after an untreated or poorly treated streptococcal throat infection. Most patients start to feel arthritic joint pains. The pain affects principal joints such as elbows and knees. Often the patient feels these pains in several joints on both their left and right sides. Usually, these symptoms continue for a month and more. Afterwards, the pain subsides without leaving any lasting damage. Without making the connection with the preceding throat infection, this could easily be mistaken for a regular outbreak of arthritis.
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