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May 13, 1950

PREVENTION OF RHEUMATIC FEVERTreatment of the Preceding Streptococcic Infection

Author Affiliations

Medical Corps, Army of the United States; Cleveland; Palo Alto, Calif.

From the Streptococcal Disease Laboratory, Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyo., and the Department of Preventive Medicine, Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland.

JAMA. 1950;143(2):151-153. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910370001001

The prevention of acute rheumatic fever by the prompt treatment of streptococcic infections with penicillin has been attempted in this study. The results obtained show that this attempt was successful, and, because of their importance, these results are presented here in a preliminary report.

The significance of an adequate means of prevention may be realized when it is considered that rheumatic fever develops in an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 persons in the general population of the United States yearly.1 Figures for the Armed Services similarly show a high incidence, with an average of 7,300 cases annually for the seven year period from 1942 through 1948.2 The gravity of the disease itself is emphasized by the estimate of Paul that at least 460,000 persons in the country today have rheumatic heart disease.3 Not only is rheumatic fever a menace to health, but it is also a serious economic

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