Definition of St. Vitus’s Dance:

St. Vitus’s Dance, also known as Sydenham’s chorea, is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary, rapid, and irregular muscle movements. The condition primarily affects children and is usually associated with rheumatic fever, a complication of streptococcal infections.


The exact cause of St. Vitus’s Dance is not fully understood, but it is believed to be an autoimmune response triggered by the streptococcal infection. The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the basal ganglia, a part of the brain responsible for movement control, resulting in the characteristic involuntary movements.


Patients with St. Vitus’s Dance experience jerky, uncontrolled movements, mainly affecting the face, hands, and feet. These movements may appear as purposeless and random, often characterized by twitches, tics, and writhing motions. Other symptoms may include muscle weakness, difficulty in coordination, and changes in behavior or mood.


Treatment for St. Vitus’s Dance involves managing the underlying streptococcal infection through antibiotics. Medications like antipsychotics or anticonvulsants may be prescribed to control the involuntary movements and reduce their severity. Physical therapy and occupational therapy can also help improve motor function and manage associated symptoms.


Most cases of St. Vitus’s Dance resolve on their own within a few months to a year. However, in some instances, the symptoms may persist or recur. With appropriate treatment, the long-term prognosis for individuals with St. Vitus’s Dance is generally favorable, and significant complications are rare.