Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that affects many of the body's connective tissues, especially those of the heart, joints, brain and skin. Children aged 5 to 15 years old are most at risk, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in rural or remote areas or in difficult conditions.
Symptoms and signs of rheumatic fever may include:
- sore throat, usually starting 2-6 weeks earlier
- feeling tired
- muscle aches
- joint aches and pain
- a rash on the trunk or limbs (although this is uncommon)
Rheumatic fever is a serious condition and requires medical care. Early treatment with antibiotics can prevent long-term, serious complications of rheumatic heart disease.
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Last reviewed: August 2020