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Screening programs detect cases of undiagnosed rheumatic heart disease in low-resource countries
Date:4/21/2012

e results of these studies show that it is possible to carry out RHD screening programmes that identify at-risk patients early," said Professor Jonathan Carapetis, Director of the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, Australia. "Given the financial burden of treating severe RHD patients and the total number of people developing the disease around the world, it is imperative that we determine if implementing these types of programmes will save lives, reduce the high financial burden of the disease and be cost-effective."

About RHD

RHD is a chronic heart condition caused by rheumatic fever that can be prevented and controlled. Rheumatic fever is caused by a preceding group A streptococcal (strep) throat infection. Treating strep throat with antibiotics can prevent rheumatic fever. Moreover, regular antibiotics (usually by injections every three to four weeks) can prevent patients with rheumatic fever from contracting further strep infections and causing progression of valve damage.

RHD is a substantial global health problem that can result in irreversible heart damage and death. It occurs predominately in developing countries and is also common in poorer populations in middle-income countries (e.g. Brazil, India) and some indigenous populations in wealthy countries (Australia, New Zealand). RHD will continue to be a global problem unless current prevention initiatives are expanded and sustained.

Previous estimates state that more than 15 million people have RHD and that 350,000 people die each year while many more are left disabled.


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Contact: Charanjit Jagait
charanjit.jagait@worldheart.org
41-796-253-296
World Heart Federation
Source:Eurekalert

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