Familial Mediterranean Fever, also known as recurrent polyserositis, is is rare genetic disorder primarily affecting people of Mediterranean descent, including Turks, Armenians, Arabs, and Sephardic Jews. The disorder is extremely rare in Greeks and Ashkenazi Jews.


Usually presents with:

  • Sudden onset fever
  • A red rash on the legs, usually below the knees
  • Constipation followed by diarrhea
  • Pleurisy, or lung inflammation
  • Joint pain

Occasionally presents with:

  • Inflammation of the scrotum
  • Inflammation of the female reproductive organs
  • Vasculitis


During an attack the serous tissue around the abdominal cavity, joints, lungs and the heart becomes inflamed, a condition known as serositis. Neutrophils, the white-blood cells that provide immune defense, crush into the area, causing a ruckus. This can be a response to simple physical exertion, stress, or mild trauma.

The genetic defect for Familiar Mediterranean Fever seems to lie on Chromosome 16. The chromosome, designated MEFV, controls production of pyrin (alternatively called marenostrin), a protein involved in the regulation of inflammation.


Familial Mediterranean Fever is most often managed with colchicine, an alkaloid compound that mitigates inflammation. If not managed, the disease can cause severe discomfort, kidney failure, amyloidosis, or infertility.


Mayo Clinic
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