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Strategy to eliminate RHD

The Telethon Kids Institute is home to a world-class Centre of Research Excellence, called ‘END RHD’ CRE. Its aim is to develop a strategy outlining a set of interventions to eliminate rheumatic heart disease as a significant health problem in Australia.

Other initiatives are the RhEACH organisation and RHD Action, which both aim to amplify rheumatic heart disease control efforts locally, regionally and globally.

Cost of Inaction

The Cost of Inaction on Rheumatic Heart Disease report predicts that RHD will lead to over 500 preventable deaths and cost the Australian health system $317 million by 2031 if no further action to tackle the disease is taken. Read the full report here.

Finding a vaccine

While treatments for patients are improving, it is far better to stop the disease from occurring in the first place. Researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute have been collaborating with others from a range of national and international institutions to develop a vaccine to protect against group A strep infections.

Another research program is developing a reformulation of penicillin that is less painful and more appropriate for those who require treatment and protection for rheumatic fever and RHD, with the aim of increasing the number of patients being successfully managed.

Living with RHD

There is also more focus on talking to people affected by RHD to understand the experience of living with the disease. This will guide the development of more appropriate prevention and management strategies.

video: rheumatic heart disease

Meet Laqueisha and Jonathan

For more than two decades, paediatrician and researcher Professor Jonathan Carapetis has been working on rheumatic heart disease.

Great strides have been made but there is still a long way to go to help kids like Laqueisha. Diagnosed with RHD at five years of age, Laqueisha has undergone eight hours of heart surgery and will endure painful injections every month until she's 18.

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