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Of Man's Heart Valves and Strep's Cell Walls

Ann Intern Med. 1967;66(6):1287-1288. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-66-6-1287
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The latent period between streptococcal infections and rheumatic fever, the sterility of the joint exudate, and the vague family resemblance between serum sickness and rheumatic fever all contributed in the early years of this century to the formulation of the hypothesis that rheumatic fever is the result of a self-damaging immune process (1). Sixty years and many thousands of papers later, convincing proof of this hypothesis is still wanting, but we have learned some interesting facts.

Autoantibodies to heart muscle (as well as to voluntary muscles) have been found in the serum of patients with active rheumatic fever (2), more


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