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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

Rheumatic Heart Disease Control Programs

A coordinated control program is the most effective approach in improving adherence to secondary prophylaxis of ARF and the clinical follow up of people with RHD

Control programs in Australia:

  • Identify people with or at risk of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and include their details on ARF/RHD disease registers. (ARF/RHD registers help coordinate care, improve delivery of long-term treatment, reduce recurrent ARF in those at risk, and help find people who are lost to follow-up).
  • Support the improved delivery of long-term secondary prevention treatment which helps prevent recurrent ARF and development or worsening of RHD.
  • Support clinical and public health practice by increasing disease awareness and expertise among the health workforce, so that they can provide appropriate health services to people with ARF and RHD, including clinical care and follow up, in line with best practice.
  • Provide advice on education and self-management support for people with ARF and RHD and their families, and the community.
  • Promote primary prevention which focuses on preventing first episodes of ARF.
  • Use information from disease registers to monitor health outcomes and produce epidemiological reports to help improve control program activities.

There are four State and Territory RHD control programs funded under the Australian Government's Rheumatic Fever Strategy: the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Each program has its own priorities and unique characteristics in terms of burden of disease, geography and service provision but the key roles are common. New South Wales also has a RHD register which is an initiative of the New South Wales Government. For more information on the RHD Control Program in your State or Territory please refer to the relevant program page.

For more information on RHD Control Programs:

  • More information about RHD control programs is available in the 2020 Australian Guideline for the prevention, management and diagnosis of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (3rd edition).
  • The TIPS Handbook, tools for implementing rheumatic heart disease control programmes is a resource to support the development and delivery of RHD control programmes in an international context.


Notifiable diseases legislation in Australia

Acute rheumatic fever is a notifiable condition in Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales  .

Rheumatic heart disease is notifiable in Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. 

Rheumatic heart disease is notifiable in NSW in people under 35.

Please refer to the individual program pages or relevant Health Department sites for further information on the legal requirements in your State or Territory.

Northern Territory