In Western Australia, while acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is rare among non-Indigenous Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented among people with ARF and rheumatic heart disease (RHD), especially in remote communities.
In Western Australia, the collection of ARF and RHD notifications is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. ARF has been a notifiable disease in Western Australia since 2007. The register and RHD control program were established in 2009. In June 2015, Western Australia became the first jurisdiction in Australia to mandate the reporting of both ARF and RHD by health professionals.
At 31 December 2020, there were 1,215 people living with a diagnosis of ARF and/or RHD in Western Australia, representing 13% of the total 9,158 people recorded across all 5 jurisdictional registers. Of these 1,215 people in Western Australia, 396 people (33%) had only ARF recorded on the register, 328 people (27%) had only RHD recorded and 491 people (40%) 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.
Kimberley was the region in Western Australia with the highest rate of ARF and/or RHD management (Figure 2.1) (Supplementary Overview Table 4).