In Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented among people with acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD). While the incidence and prevalence of both ARF and RHD remain high for Indigenous Queenslanders, ARF and RHD also disproportionately affect the Māori, Pacific Islander and refugee populations of Queensland (Queensland Health, 2018).
In Queensland, the collection of ARF and RHD notifications is funded jointly by the Australian Government Department of Health and Queensland Health. ARF has been a notifiable disease in Queensland since 1999, and the register was established in 2006. The RHD control program was established in 2009. RHD became a notifiable condition in 2018.
At 31 December 2020, there were 3,622 people living with a diagnosis of ARF and/or RHD in Queensland, representing 40% of the total 9,158 people recorded across all 5 jurisdictional registers. Of these 3,622 people in Queensland, 840 people (23%) had only ARF recorded on the register, 1,717 people (47%) had only RHD recorded and 1,065 people (29%) had both ARF and RHD recorded (Supplementary Overview Table 1).
Region of management
For each person recorded on a register, the region of management is recorded. This is the area where the patient was most recently reported to receive the majority of the primary health care for their ARF or RHD. The region of management may differ from the person’s region of diagnosis and the notifying jurisdiction. Each state or territory defines regions uniquely, based on its own specific health services boundaries. There are 33 regions spread over Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory. NSW is considered as a whole. Regions do not cross state and territory boundaries.
Torres and Cape was the region in Queensland with the highest rate of ARF and/or RHD management (Figure 2.1) (Supplementary Overview Table 4).