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March 23, 1963


JAMA. 1963;183(12):1034. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700120092014

Elsewhere in this issue (p 985) Grossman and Stamler report a retrospective study of 110 first attacks of rheumatic fever. In essence, 85% of these attacks were preceded by an infection, which if properly recognized and adequately treated could have resulted in the prevention of the rheumatic fever in these individuals.

During this century, morbidity and mortality from rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease have declined markedly in the United States. Nevertheless, these diseases have by no means been eradicated. They still are significant cripplers and killers of children and young adults, and today exact a sizeably greater toll than paralytic poliomyelitis. The data collected by Grossman and Stamler indicate that this need not be, and that it is in order to enhance the effort to prevent rheumatic fever.

The relationship between initial attacks of rheumatic fever and antecedent Group A streptococcal infections, as well as the ability of adequate