ARF among all Australians

There were 1,897 diagnoses of ARF recorded in 2013–2017, a rate of 4 per 100,000 population. Each year from 2013 to 2017, the number and rate of diagnoses increased. In 2017, 528 cases were diagnosed, a rate of 6 per 100,000, increasing from 3 per 100,000 in 2013.

Figure 1: Number and rate of ARF diagnoses among all Australians, 2013–2017

Figure 1: The vertical bar chart shows an increase in the number of ARF diagnoses made annually from 2013–2017. The line on the chart shows a corresponding increase in the annual population rate of ARF. More information is located in the data tables, ARF Table 1.

Note:

1. Rates are crude rates per 100,000 population.

2. ARF diagnoses include all episode types and confirmation statuses.

Source: AIHW analysis of National Rheumatic Heart Disease data collection. 

The most common age at diagnosis was 5–14 years, with 964 diagnoses (16 per 100,000 population) during the 5 year period. The rate of new diagnoses increased over time in all age groups. In 2017, the highest rate was in 5–14 year olds, with 20 children diagnosed in every 100,000 (248 diagnoses). ARF was more common in females than males, with 56% of diagnoses (1,060) occurring in females. Females had higher rates of ARF each year compared with males.

Ninety-four per cent of ARF diagnoses (1,776) in 2013–2017 were in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians. The overall rate of ARF diagnosis in Indigenous Australians was 85 per 100,000 population, more than 250 times the rate among non-Indigenous Australians. The annual number and rate of ARF diagnoses among Indigenous Australians increased throughout the period.

Table 1: Number and rate of ARF diagnoses per 100,000 by Indigenous status, 2013–2017

Year

Indigenous number

Indigenous rate

Non-Indigenous number

Non-Indigenous rate

Total number

Total rate

2013

254

63.5

22

0.3

276

3.0

2014

287

70.2

14

0.2

301

3.3

2015

315

75.4

20

0.2

335

3.6

2016

436

102.1

21

0.2

457

4.9

2017

484

110.9

44

0.5

528

5.6

Total(a) 

1,776

85.0

121

0.3

1,897

4.1

(a) Totals include individuals with unknown Indigenous status.

Notes:

1. ARF diagnoses include all episode types and confirmation statuses

2. Rates are crude rates per 100,000 population

Source: AIHW analysis of National Rheumatic Heart Disease data collection. 

Subsequent sections focus on Indigenous Australians with ARF, due to the small number of diagnoses among non-Indigenous Australians.