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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

What is Acute Rheumatic Fever?

There is currently no single test to diagnose Acute Rheumatic Fever. Diagnosis is a doctor’s decision based on the identification of a number of known symptoms.

What is Rheumatic Heart Disease?

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is chronic damage to the valves in the heart caused by repeated cases of Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF). This can be prevented.

How is it Prevented?

The prevention of RHD can be implemented at a number of different stages. This includes Primordial, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary prevention.

How is it Diagnosed & Treated?

The prevention of RHD can be implemented at a number of different stages. This includes Primordial, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary prevention.

For Individuals & Families


Wash hands and face regularly

Washing your hands and face will reduce the spread of harmful bacteria which can lead to RHD.


Get regular check-ups

Stay up to date with check-ups at your local health clinic and with the dentist.


Keep fit and active

Being overweight and inactive can cause further stress on the heart so it is good to keep fit and exercise.


Don’t miss your injections

If you have had rheumatic fever you must have regular penicillin injections to prevent rheumatic heart disease.


Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet helps your body stay healthy and fight off germs.

Symptoms to look out for

Sore throat

Sore throat can lead to acute rheumatic fever

Subcutaneous nodules

Round, firm and painless lumps around joints

Skin sores

Skin sores can let the strep germ into the body

Sore or swollen joints

Including knees, ankles, elbows and wrists

Mary's Story

My name is Aunty Mary.  My nephew Michael is 10 years old.  Last year he got sick with rheumatic heart disease.  I want to tell you a story about rheumatic heart disease, and how this has affected my family. I want everybody to know my family’s story, so we can stop our kids getting sick hearts, and stop rheumatic heart disease in our people... Read on

Eddie's Story

Eddie Masina’s journey with rheumatic heart disease (RHD) started when he was five. In 1992, aged 12 Eddie had his first open heart surgery. It would be the first of five....Read on

What if I'm pregnant?

Rheumatic heart disease is up to twice as common in women, and this is women of child bearing years. There is a 30-50% increased cardiac workload in normal pregnancy..... Read On

For Health Professionals & Researchers

Download the App

Guidelines & Diagnosis Calculator

ARF RHD Guideline

E-learning & Discussion Forum


The END RHD CRE is the first time that any country has had an opportunity to build a comprehensive, evidence based strategy for ending rheumatic...


The Global Atlas of Rheumatic Heart Disease provides a new way to view the global distribution of RHD burden & as well as programs and...

Burden of the Disease

Acute rheumatic fever remains the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children around the world . Rates of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Northern and Central Australia are some of the highest in the world this many more words will make it even...Read on

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RT : . NACCHO PART 2 World No Tobacco Day :Ten more myths

12 hours 28 min

go to to see who else is wearing their heart on their sleeve...

1 day 11 hours

RT : So awesome to see the Fiji RHD Prevention Program kick it up a notch.

1 day 12 hours

"Reconciliation at the heart of our nation's future"

4 days 12 hours

RHD Control Programs

A coordinated control program is the most effective approach in improving adherence to secondary prophylaxis of ARF...Read on

evening symposium

Latest News

Hear from the experts - video presentations now available

The RHDA evening symposium held in Brisbane in March was an opportunity to hear the latest developments in research, clinical practice and... Read on

Latest News

New Community and Clinician Resources

Important Health Message: Acute Rheumatic Fever  The short video resource "Important Health Message: Acute Rheumatic Fever" is designed to... Read on

Take Heart

Latest News

Take Heart – New NT screenings

Upcoming screenings: Deckchair Cinema - Take Heart: The quest to rid Australasia of Rheumatic Heart Disease will be showing at Darwin’s... Read on

Save The Date - NT Education Workshop

Latest News

Save The Date - NT Education Workshop

RHDAustralia will be delivering a two day education workshop in Darwin on the 20th and 21st October. The workshop is designed for key... Read on

Latest News

Determining the burden of RHD

An integral part of the ‘End RHD’ Centre for Research Excellence is to determine the current burden of ARF/RHD, so that we have a baseline... Read on

Data Collection System

The data collection system is a central repository for the collection and reporting of Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) and Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) data...