What is the prevalence of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) in the US?

Updated: Sep 07, 2018
  • Author: Zartash Zafar Khan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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During the 1960s and 1970s, ARF nearly disappeared in the United States, although it continued unabated in developing countries. This decline in disease was largely attributed to careful disease surveillance and initiation of prompt aggressive antibiotic therapy in primary care practice. However, in 1985, several multifocal outbreaks of rheumatic fever occurred in several parts of the United States.

In contrast with earlier outbreaks in this country, most of the patients were white, middle-class children from rural and suburban communities who had good access to health care. This unexplained resurgence in acute rheumatic fever underscores the point that a great deal remains to be learned about the pathogenesis of this disease.

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