Rheumatic fever threatens the health and the lives of thousands of children. The toll taken by heart disease mounts higher each year. For the United States the death rate for heart disease is almost 300 per hundred thousand. It is now recognized that rheumatic fever, in youth primarily, but also at advanced ages, is responsible for at least fifty per cent of the deaths from heart disease.
Three years ago the Medical Research Council endeavored to discover the cause of the unusual amount of juvenile rheumatism in some sections of Great Britain. Although investigators went into the homes of hundreds of children to study the environment, their inquiry did not result in definite conclusions as to the prevention of this disastrous disease. The inquiry, indeed, raised more questions than it answered. The conclusion was reached, however, that children living under better general hygiene in institutions are much less frequently attacked