WA Rheumatic Heart Disease Register

Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is an autoimmune response to an infection caused by the group A streptococcus bacteria, also known as ‘Strep A’. The most common infections caused by Strep A are sore throat and skin infections such as impetigo. Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is the damage to valves in the heart that develops after single or repeated episodes of ARF.

In all high prevalence jurisdictions, Register and Control Programs were established in 2009 under the Rheumatic Fever Strategy National Partnership Agreement funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health to improve the detection, monitoring and management of ARF and RHD in high prevalence jurisdictions. 

In Western Australia, maintaining the Register is a delegated responsibility of the WA RHD Register and Control Program, WA Country Health Services, overseen by the Chief Health Officer, Department of Health.

For further information on these conditions visit the HealthyWA website and Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia (external site).

Reporting cases of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

All clinicians involved in the diagnosis and/or treatment of ARF and RHD are mandated to notify the RHD Register and Control Program of every case, both confirmed, probable and possible, and of ongoing information about patients being treated.

The information is used to help improve clinical support, to monitor trends and provide de-identified reports to the public. The data are reported monthly to health services and annually by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Register notification process

ARF and RHD have been notifiable conditions in Western Australia since 19 June 2015 when the Health (Rheumatic Heart Disease) Regulations (external site) were released:

  1. Clinicians complete and forward a notification form (Word 500KB) to the WA RHD Register and Control Program.
  2. All diagnostic tests also must be forwarded as per the mandatory reporting requirements.
  3. Patients need to be advised of how their information will be used as per the patient advice document (PDF 500KB).

Clinicians are also required to contact the Register in relation to the delivery of any treatment including administration of secondary prophylaxis, and changes in patient details.

The WA RHD Register and Control Program may contact clinicians to request further information required under the Regulations.

Accessing the Rheumatic Heart Disease Register

Only clinicians supporting patients with ARF and/or RHD can apply for read-only access to the Register.

To apply for access to the Register:

  1. Read the RHD Register access statement.
  2. Sign and submit an RHD Register access request form (Word 92KB).
  3. Once access is granted, login via the RHD Register (external site) page.

More information

WA Rheumatic Heart Disease Register and Control Program
Phone: 1300 622 745
Fax: 6553 0899
Email: RHD.Register@health.wa.gov.au

Last reviewed: 20-10-2021
Produced by

Public Health