Acute rheumatic fever is reported to have declined and perhaps be vanishing. Prompted by the occurrence of 17 cases of acute rheumatic fever in an 18-month period in 1985 and 1986, we reviewed the records of 243 children with acute rheumatic fever who were cared for at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh or Mercy Hospital between 1965 and 1986. Acute rheumatic fever was diagnosed using the modified Jones criteria and cases were classified by major criteria as arthritis, arthritis and carditis, carditis alone, carditis and chorea, chorea alone, and arthritis and chorea. Among the 17 recent patients, 59% had carditis, 30% had chorea, and 24% had arthritis alone. The proportion of children who had particular major manifestations was similar in the last two decades and in 1985 to 1986. The recent children with acute rheumatic fever ranged in age from 6 to 13 years with a mean and median age of 10 years. There were 16 white children and one Asian child. Only four children lived in an urban setting. When demographic features of the children were contrasted with those in the previous two decades, a decrease in the proportion of children who lived in urban areas and who were black was noted. Four children had a history of preceding sore throat but only three sought medical care; nine children had no memorable illness and four had either a nonrespiratory illness or a respiratory infection without sore throat. This resurgence of rheumatic fever serves as a reminder that a diligent approach to the diagnosis and therapy of streptococcal infections remains essential.
- Accepted November 6, 1986.
- Copyright © 1987 by the American Academy of Pediatrics