Familial Mediterranean fever

Familial Mediterranean fever is an inflammatory disorder that causes recurrent fevers and painful inflammation of your abdomen, lungs and joints.

Familial Mediterranean fever is an inherited disorder that usually occurs in people of Mediterranean origin — including Sephardic Jews, Arabs, Italians, Armenians and Turks. But it may affect any ethnic group.

Familial Mediterranean fever is typically diagnosed during childhood. While there's no cure for this disorder, you may be able to relieve signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever — or even prevent them altogether — by sticking to your treatment plan.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever usually begin during childhood. Signs and symptoms occur in bouts called attacks that last one to three days.

Signs and symptoms of familial Mediterranean fever include:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Achy, swollen joints
  • Constipation followed by diarrhea
  • A red rash on your legs, especially below your knees
  • Muscle aches
  • A swollen, tender scrotum

Between attacks, you'll likely feel normal. Symptom-free periods may be as short as a week or as long as months.

When to see a doctor

If you or your child experiences sudden worrisome signs or symptoms, such as shortness of breath or passing out, call 911 or emergency medical help.

See your doctor if you or your child has a sudden fever accompanied by pain in the abdomen, chest and joints.

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