Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that occurs following a Streptococcus pyogenes infection, such as streptococcal pharyngitis or scarlet fever. Believed to be caused by antibody cross-reactivity that can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain, the illness typically develops two to three weeks after a streptococcal infection. Acute rheumatic fever commonly appears in children between the ages of 6 and 15, with only 20% of first-time attacks occurring in adults. The illness is so named because of its similarity in presentation to rheumatism. Modified Jones criteria were first published in 1944 by T. Duckett Jones, MD. They have been periodically revised by the American Heart Association in collaboration with other groups.
Contributions by Graham87, DocJohnny, and Vogon77.