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Prevention and Control Program targets Rheumatic Fever

9 August 2017

Logan has six times the rate of Rheumatic Fever than the rest of Australia and 49 per cent of those diagnosed are islander people.

Rheumatic Heart Disease Control Program Project Officer Sean Carroll said it is caused by bacteria called Group A Streptococcus, could cause a fever and could feel like the flu, affecting the whole body, especially the knees and the heart.

“There is not one clinical diagnostic test to confirm Rheumatic Fever,” he said.  “It is diagnosed on clinical suspicion and clinical criteria.”

Mr Carroll said Rheumatic Fever, untreated, caused the immune systems antibodies to fight off the infection cross reacting with proteins in the body and ultimately to Rheumatic Heart Disease.

The Metro South RHD Prevention and Control Program is aimed at improving partnerships between all health professionals in delivering overall case management.

He said nominated “health champions” would be placed throughout the workforce acknowledging the sequence of the disease and an integrated transfer of data established between RHD, Queensland National Registry and key stakeholders.

“This is about improving knowledge and awareness of RF and RHD throughout the community.”

Look out for any signs of sickness that cause:

  • Pain or swelling in the big joints
  • Twitching and jerking movements: sometimes rheumatic fever affects the brain which makes parts of the body ‘twitch and jerk’

What can I do to stop Rheumatic Fever?

  • Wash your hands with soap especially after the toilet, changing nappies, playing with animals and before eating food.
  • Take you medicine and have your injections.
  • Have regular medical check-ups.
  • If pregnant and you think you may have Rheumatic Fever see your doctor straight away.
  • Brush your teeth 2 times a day.
  • Have a shower or bath every day.
Last updated 11 August 2017
Last reviewed 11 August 2017

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