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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

RHD Resouces

Rheumatic heart disease program improving Aboriginal health

Media Release by Government of South Australia

24 March 2014

More than 150 Aboriginal South Australians are benefitting from a statewide program helping to prevent and treat rheumatic heart disease.

SA Health’s Director of Communicable Disease Control Branch, Dr Ann Koehler, said rheumatic heart disease is long term damage to the heart caused by repeated episodes of acute rheumatic fever.

“While rheumatic heart disease is relatively uncommon in Australia, we know that Aboriginal people, and in particular young Aboriginal people, are 25 times more likely to experience rheumatic heart disease than non-Aboriginal people,” Dr Koehler said.

“Data show that the average age of death for an Aboriginal person with rheumatic heart disease is 36 years, while for a non-Aboriginal person it is 67.

 Read the full media release