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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 9-14

Evolution, evidence and effect of secondary prophylaxis against rheumatic fever

1 Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Subiaco, Australia
2 Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Subiaco; Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rosemary Wyber
Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-5414.157554

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The association between group A streptococcal infection and rheumatic fever (RF) was established in the early 20 th century. At the time, RF and subsequent rheumatic heart disease (RHD) were an untreatable scourge of young people in developed and developing countries. Resultingly, research efforts to understand, treat and prevent the disease were widepread. The development of antibiotics in the 1930s offered therapeutic promise, although antibotic treatment of acute RF had little impact. Improved understanding of the post-infectious nature of RF prompted attempts to use antibiotics prophylactically. Regular doses of sulphonamide antibiotics following RF appeared to reduce disease progression to RHD. Development of penicillin and later, benzathine penicillin G, was a further thereputic advance in the 1950s. No new prophylactic options against RF have emerged in the intervening 60 years, and delivery of regularly scheduled BPG injections remains a world wide challenge.

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