Patients with Group A β-hemolytic streptococcal infection and articular disease who do not fulfill the modified Jones criteria for a diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) have been classified as poststreptococcal reactive arthritis/arthralgia. We reviewed the initial clinical characteristics and outcome of 12 poststreptococcal reactive arthritis/arthralgia patients. During the initial episode all had arthritis or arthralgia and a documented streptococcal infection. None had carditis and none received prophylactic antibiotic therapy during an average follow-up of 17 months (range, 6 to 42 months). One patient developed classic ARF with valvulitis 18 months after the initial episode. Two children had later episodes of arthritis and two had at least one additional episode of arthralgia.
Poststreptococcal reactive arthritis/arthralgias seems to be part of the disease spectrum of ARF and therefore the use of prophylactic antibiotic therapy to prevent subsequent development of ARF and carditis in these patients should, perhaps, be reconsidered.