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.
Contributions by Graham87, DocJohnny, and Vogon77.