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The Rise and Fall of Rheumatic Fever

Alan L. Bisno, MD
JAMA. 1985;254(4):538-541. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360040092036.
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IN THIS week's issue, the editors of JAMA have republished an article that stands clearly as a landmark in modern medical history. The article, which first appeared in The Journal 35 years ago, presents convincing evidence that acute rheumatic fever may be prevented by penicillin therapy for the antecedent streptococcal throat infection. This study and a succeeding one on the same topic published the next year1 emerged from the famous Streptococcal Disease Laboratory, which functioned at the Fort Warren, Wyo, air force technical training base in the years shortly after the end of World War II. The laboratory, under the leadership of the late Dr Charles H. Rammelkamp, Jr, included among its ranks a number of young investigators destined to make indelible contributions to the field of infectious diseases. Numbered among these were Dr Floyd W. Denny, the senior author of the 1950 JAMA article, the late Dr Lewis W.


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