High incidence of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in the republics of Central Asia

Int J Rheum Dis. 2009 Jul;12(2):79-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-185X.2009.01388.x.


The epidemiological situation involving rheumatic fever (RF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) not only remains unresolved but is also a cause of serious concern due to the rapid increase in the incidence of RF/RHD in many developing countries. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the republics of Central Asia experienced an economic decline that directly affected the public health sector of this region. This is the main cause of the high prevalence of many infectious diseases in Central Asia, including streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis, which carries the risk of complications such as RF. The difficulty involved in early diagnosis of RF and the development of RHD among children and adolescents causes early mortality and sudden death, leading to economic damage in these countries due to the loss of the young working population. Among all the developing countries, Kyrgyzstan, which is located in the heart of Central Asia, has the highest prevalence of RF/RHD. The increase in the prevalence of RF in Central Asia can be attributed to factors such as the low standard of living and changes in the virulence of streptococci and their sensitivity to antibiotics.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kyrgyzstan / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Rheumatic Fever / epidemiology*
  • Rheumatic Fever / prevention & control
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease / epidemiology*
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors