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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

What is Acute Rheumatic Fever?

Acute rheumatic fever is an illness caused by an autoimmune response to a bacterial infection with group A streptococcus, commonly called the strep bacteria.

What is Rheumatic Heart Disease?

Rheumatic heart disease is chronic damage to the valves in the heart caused by repeated cases of acute rheumatic fever. This can be prevented.

How is it Prevented?

The prevention of rheumatic heart disease can be implemented at different stages. This includes Primordial, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary prevention.

How is it Diagnosed & Treated?

There is currently no single test to diagnose acute rheumatic fever. Diagnosis is a doctor’s decision based on clinical assessment of signs and symptoms.

For Individuals & Families

Look for symptoms in children


Look out for children

Children aged between 5 and 14 are most likely to get rheumatic fever


Get regular check-ups

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


Don’t ignore a sore throat

Go to the clinic. Treating a sore throat stops the strep germ and can prevent ARF


Keep sores clean and covered

Keep sores clean and covered to stop strep and other germs entering the body


Wash hands and face often

Washing your hands and face will wash away the strep and other germs

Symptoms to look out for

Subcutaneous nodules

Round, firm and painless lumps around joints

Skin sores

Skin sores can let the strep germ into the body

Difficulty walking

This can indicate Sydenham’s Chorea

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

Nelson's Story

23-year-old Nelson Baker is an Indigenous artist who has a turned his experience of living with the rheumatic heart disease into a powerful message for other young Australians....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

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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...


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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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RHD Control Programs

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

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'Lub Dub'- this is the sound your heart makes as the heart valves open and close.  You’ve probably heard a few 'lub dubs' in your lifetime... Read on

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Registrations are now open - click here to register at Eventbrite Download Full Program *Please note: The times and titles in this program... Read on

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On 30th June 2016, a significant milestone was met with the submission to the Commonwealth Department of Health of the first report... Read on

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Year 12 project making a difference - Tiwi Islander raises awareness about RHD

Tiwi Islander and year 12 student Trish Tipiloura has been raising awareness about rheumatic heart disease (RHD) on the Tiwi Islands. “... 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...