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Arthritis Health Center

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Familial Mediterranean Fever

It is possible that the main title of the report Familial Mediterranean Fever is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • FMF
  • familial paroxysmal polyserositis
  • recurrent polyserositis

Disorder Subdivisions

  • familial Mediterranean fever type 1
  • familial Mediterranean fever type 2

General Discussion

Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an inherited autoinflammatory disease characterized by recurrent episodes (attacks) of fever and acute inflammation of the membranes lining the abdomen, joints, and lungs. In some cases, affected individuals may develop skin rashes (erysipelas like erythema) affecting the lower legs. Less often, inflammation of the membrane lining the heart or covering the brain and spinal cord may occur. Some individuals may develop a serious condition known as amyloidosis, in which certain proteins called amyloid accumulates in various tissues of the body. In FMF, amyloid accumulates in the kidneys (renal amyloidosis) where it can impair kidney function potentially result in life-threatening complications such as kidney failure. The specific symptoms and severity of FMF are highly variable. Some individuals develop amyloidosis, but none of the other symptoms associated with FMF. These cases are sometimes referred to as FMF type 2. FMF is caused by mutations of the pyrin (MEFV) gene and is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.

FMF is classified as an autoinflammatory syndrome. Autoinflammatory syndromes are a group of disorders characterized by recurrent episodes of inflammation due to an abnormality of the innate immune system. They are not the same as autoimmune syndromes, in which the adaptive immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. FMF is the most common autoinflammatory syndrome. It is also classified as a hereditary periodic fever syndrome.


March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Tel: (888)663-4637

NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Information Clearinghouse
One AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Tel: (301)495-4484
Fax: (301)718-6366
Tel: (877)226-4267
TDD: (301)565-2966

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Madisons Foundation
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310)264-0826
Fax: (310)264-4766

NOMID Alliance
P.O. Box 590354
San Francisco, CA 94118
Tel: (415)831-8782

International Society for Systemic Auto-Inflammatory Diseases
Unité médicale des maladies auto-inflammatoires (Reference Center)
Laboratoire de génétique
Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve
Montpellier Cedex 5
Tel: 33467335859
Fax: 33467335867

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 7/17/2012
Copyright 1986, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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